Thursday, October 16, 2014

TJRC: Independent body to generate initiatives for transitional justice and Reconciliation for Bangsamoro

Posted to the MILF Website (Oct 16): TJRC: Independent body to generate initiatives for transitional justice and Reconciliation for Bangsamoro

The Transitional Justice and Reconciliation Commission (TJRC), a body created by the Government of the Philippines (GPH) and Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) to recommend measures to correct historical injustices and address legitimate grievances of the Bangsamoro people, is set to conduct public consultations from now until June next year to come up with their report.
The Commission will approach its work by considering the culture of the people, multiple narratives of history and ensuring inclusivity among the different stakeholders, TJRC chairperson Mo Bleeker said during the Commission's Manila launch this Saturday, Oct. 11 at the Shangri-la Hotel. Last Oct. 4, the TJRC was officially introduced to the public in Cotabato City.

Joining Bleeker in the TJRC are its members, Atty. Cecilia Jimenez (as GPH representative) and Atty. Ishak Mastura (as MILF representative) as well as Jonathan Sisson who serves as senior adviser. The commission’s work is part of the normalization process specified in the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB).

GPH panel chair Miriam Coronel-Ferrer said that TJRC’s greatest contribution could be in pointing out how the country can effectively have sustainable justice and reconciliation in healing the internal conflict in the south. “The work of the TJRC and its outcome must set off a process that does not control, formalize, bureaucratize nor narrow down the avenues, but rather generates, in addition to the state’s, people-driven initiatives to do transitional justice and reconciliation.”

Saying that “justice is political and it is also personal,” Coronel-Ferrer underscored that “our efforts must produce the needed state policies and institutions that would be responsive. It must make us more human, with faith and trust in the humanity that is in each one of us, knowing that this is what will unite us whoever we are, whatever identity we self-ascribe to or are other-ascribed. It must produce a norm-change, change the hate to love, convert the distrust to trust, ensconce the sense of personal and collective accountability and strengthen the desire to build peace.”

MILF peace panel chair and Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC) chair Mohagher Iqbal, in his message during the launch of TJRC, said that “achieving accountability (of human rights violators), achieving justice and restoration (after conflict) is a tedious process for all.” However, he said that other paradigms have to be examined, beyond judicial approach or courts, to realize the goal of healing wounds of conflict towards reconciliation, to not repeat the state-sponsored human rights violations in the past, and lead to the “eventual vanishing of discrimination.”

Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Teresita Quintos Deles, also present at the TJRC launch, said that as a people, “we sometimes have a tendency to say ‘Huwag nang ungkatin pa and natapos na’ (‘Don’t try to dig up the past’). That’s why we tend to repeat historical injustices and tragedies. I am so glad that we are deliberately doing this now to ensure that the wrongdoings in the past… will not be repeated.”

Deles also underscored that while rights of victims are important, it is also crucial to provide space for the right to forgive and right to embrace one’s enemy.

Also present at the TJRC Manila launch were members of the diplomatic community including Swiss deputy chief of mission Raoul Imbach (who represented Swiss Ambassador Ivo Sieber), UK Ambassador Asif Ahmed, Brunei Ambassador Malai Halimah Yussof; GPH panel members Senen Bacani and National Commission on Muslim Filipinos chair Yasmin Busran-Lao; BTC Commissioners; Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao-Regional Human Rights Commission head Algamar Latiph; international non-governmental organizations, Mindanao historian Prof. Rudy Rodil, among others.

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