The full text of the Report of Sierra Leone’s Truth & Reconciliation Commission has been online since the day it was launched at the Miatta Conference Center some four years ago in 2005. It is searchable and can be located at www.trcsierraleone.org
This fact was revealed to Awareness Times yesterday by one of West Africa’s Leading Website Consultant, Dr. Sylvia Olayinka Blyden. Blyden, who is the Chief Executive Officer of WEST AFRICA DOT NET informed that the initial funding for the Website was provided by George Soros’s Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA) but that after the website’s funding expired in 2007, she has personally undertaken the financial costs of keeping the website up and running as it was of extreme importance to Sierra Leone and Sierra Leoneans.
"As long as I can afford it, I will ensure that Sierra Leoneans can access the entire searchable database of the contents of the TRC Report especially its findings and its recommendations," Blyden told this writer.
The Website itself is professionally designed and separated into sections.
Not only does it have the entire text of the Findings and Recommendations, but the website also has a Children’s Version and a Senior Secondary School version as well as appendices that are of relevance to the work of the TRC.
Dr. Sylvia Blyden used the opportunity of her chat with this writer to thank OSIWA who funded the implementation of the Website Project in the Year 2005. She also praise the efforts of the current Chairman of Sierra Leone’s Anti Corruption Commission, Abdul Tejan Cole Esq. who as the then Board Chairman of OSIWA, played no little part in ensuring that the interests of Sierra Leone at OSIWA were kept alive including the funding of the TRC Report Website.
TRC’s Bishop Joseph Humper wrote a powerful Introduction at the Website. Extracts of it are as follows: "The establishment of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in Sierra Leone after eleven years of bitter civil conflict was appropriate, necessary and indeed, highly significant for the healing of a traumatised nation. The Report serves as a mirror through which all Sierra Leoneans can examine their own roles in the conflict. While particular attention has been paid to the plight of victims, the motives and perspectives of those who committed terrible atrocities were intensively explored. The Commission endeavoured in its report to address the questions: "Why Sierra Leone?" "What went wrong?" "What needs to change?" "How will we effect the change?" The Report is intended to enable Sierra Leoneans to understand the conflict and to come to grips with the problems which gave rise to it, many of which continue to plague Sierra Leone today. In this way, the Commission hopes the Report will serve as a roadmap towards the building of a new society in which all Sierra Leoneans can walk unafraid with pride and dignity. The Commission’s findings force us as a nation to confront the past. They reinforce the belief that the past cannot, indeed must not, be forgotten. Forgetting or ignoring the past means we cannot learn its lessons and are at greater risk of repeating it. With this knowledge and understanding we vow to build a society that will be able to prevent such causes and violations from recurring." - Bishop Joseph C. Humper
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Newspaper in Freetown, Sierra Leone.