Technical Committee for the Commission for Truth, Reconciliation and Healing Completes Training in Conducting Inclusive Consultations

A workshop designed for members of the Technical Committee in charge of the National Consultation Process for the establishment of the Commission for Truth, Reconciliation and Healing (CTRH) was completed this week at Juba Grand Hotel. The training aimed for the committee members to develop a common understanding of a human rights-based and victim-centred approach to consultation methodologies for transitional justice in South Sudan. It was further intended to provide the committee members with the relevant knowledge, skill and attitudes to interact with persons affected by conflict thereby enabling a successful conduct of public consultations.

UNDP’s Access to Justice and Rule of Law Project and UNMISS’ Human Rights Department, in collaboration with the Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs (MoJamp;CA), supported the four-day training on consultative methods for 28 members including 11 women.

The establishment of the Commission for Truth, Reconciliation, and Healing is a must and the government is committed to see it established,rdquo; said Hon. Undersecretary of the Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs in opening remarks at the launch of the training. The Undersecretary stressed the need for community sensitisation in preparation for the consultations to also target refugee settlements in addition to visitations at UNMISS Protection of Civilian (PoC) sites.

The training was funded by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) and the Government of Netherlands as a preparatory activity in support of the establishment of a Commission for Truth, Reconciliation and Healing which falls under Chapter V of the Agreement on Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan (ARCSS), and deals with issues of transitional justice, accountability, reconciliation, and healing. The Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs is mandated by the ARCSS to conduct national consultations in collaboration with other stakeholders and civil society. In this regards, the Ministry established a Technical Committee consisting of both state and non-state actors to lead the national consultations. Views collected during these consultations will be used to draft the CTRH legislation.

Through the establishment of the Commission on Truth, Reconciliation, and Healing, we will encourage our [people] to talk about issues that affect the social and political fabric of our community,rdquo; said First Vice President Taban Deng Gai at the formal launch of the Technical Committee on December 15, 2016.

Extensive consultations may not be an easy task but it is doable with the necessary skills and techniques in place — and if only committee members shelve their individual sentiments and choices and focus on the collective agenda for contributing to peace. The success of any truth telling, reconciliation and healing process lies squarely on the resolve of the people affected by conflict to support the process and the international community will back every effort at promoting peace,rdquo; said UNDP Country Director Dr. Kamil Kamaluddeen at the launch of the training.

The training was conducted by experienced facilitators from the Institute for Justice and Reconciliation (IJR) in South Africa. The lead facilitators include Mr. Webster Zambara, part of UNDP’s team of experts advising the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission in Zimbabwe; Dr. Ruben Richards, former Secretary General of the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission; and Ms. Friederike Bubenzer, Senior Project Leader at the South African Institute for Justice and Reconciliation and author of Hope, Pain and Patience: The Lives of Women in South Sudanrdquo;.

The training helped participants identify and understand the knowledge, skills and attitudes critical for a successful consultation process. Key amongst these included the need to understand local context, geography, and thorough understanding of the Technical Committee’s terms of reference, the skills to develop consultative tools, planning, listening, data collection and documentation, and in relation to attitudes, the need to value team work, commitment, managing expectations, not being judgmental, and neutrality.

To determine the next steps for the consultation process, a brainstorming session was facilitated and generated multiple recommendations, including planning a forum for charting the way forward to be held within the next two weeks; development of the tools needed to conduct the consultations in the field; development of a resource mobilisation framework; working towards the establishment of a well-resourced secretariat; and exploring training opportunities dedicated specifically on trauma healing.

Source: United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).