Truth-telling processes have taken many forms in different countries across the world. They have been held after civil wars, genocides, and in countries with similar colonial histories to Australia.
We do not yet know what a Truth-telling process will look like here in Victoria, but it can be helpful to look at other processes across the world.
Content warning: The videos below may contain content or themes that may be distressing to viewers. Viewers are warned that videos may contain images and voices of deceased persons.
South Africa held a Truth and Reconciliation Commission from 1996 to 2003. It found that more than 19,050 people had been victims of gross human rights violations. An additional 2,975 victims were identified through applications for amnesty.
It became a major part of the story of South Africa’s transition to democracy.
What was the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC)?
This video, featuring Professor Newell Stultz, explains the significance of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in South Africa.
Desmond Tutu on Truth and Reconciliation
In this clip from “Facing the Truth,” Archbishop Desmond Tutu, who headed South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission after the abolition of apartheid, says there’s catharsis in recounting the horrors of the past.
Facing the Truth with Bill Moyers
Bill Moyers reports on the efforts of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission as it investigates human rights violations, heals the country, and helps South Africa in its process of reinvention.
Canada held a Truth and Reconciliation Commission from 2008 to 2015. Around 7000 testimonies were made from survivors. More than 6500 testimonies were heard from witnesses. It resulted in 94 calls to action across child welfare, education, language and culture, health and justice.
The Truth in the Classroom
Canadian youth learn about the country’s dark past, including the ongoing legacy of Indian Residential Schools, as part of a National Event of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada.
Truth-telling process have been pursued in the Asia Pacific region, including the East Timor Commission for Reception, Truth and Reconciliation, which was an independent truth commission established in 2001 in East Timor under the UN Transitional Administration in East Timor.
It was designed to inquire into human rights violations and used traditional ceremonies to reintegrate perpetrators back into communities after they had performed restorative acts. It recommended reparations for trauma counselling and other social services.
The Commission collected 7,669 statements from peoples affected. The process covered human rights violations and displacement of peoples from 1974 to 1999.
Transitional Justice in Asia: Episode 2 — Truth
Presented by Transitional Justice Asia Network, this video explores Truth as an aspect of transitional justice.
Transitional justice refers to the ways countries emerging from periods of conflict and repression address large-scale or systematic human rights violations so numerous and so serious that the normal justice system will not be able to provide an adequate response.
The Case For Justice: Why Transitional Justice Matters in Today’s World
Why pursue transitional justice in the aftermath of massive human rights violations? “The Case for Justice” provides a window into the debate about the relevance of transitional justice in today’s world.
Victoria: have your say
Looking overseas, there are many examples of Truth and Justice processes in post-conflict societies. What makes this context of ours unique, however, is that colonisation processes in Victoria have never stopped.
The truth-telling process for Victoria is covering a much longer period of time, the meaning behind this runs deeper and has had longer term ramifications for Aboriginal peoples.
To stay up to date with our journey to Truth-telling in Victoria, and to have your say on key issues, visit our Truth-telling page.