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Caritas Australia representatives arrive in Solomon Islands

Staff from Caritas Australia arrived in the Solomon Islands on Friday to discuss the implications of the regional intervention with the country's political and church leaders.

National Director Jack de Groot said Caritas Australia supports the regional intervention in the Solomon Islands.

However, he said that despite progress made through contact with rogue groups, it is very important that a blanket amnesty is not introduced which allows those who perpetrated crimes before the intervention to go unpunished.

"Justice is a precondition for permanent reconciliation and peace. Amnesties do not provide that justice," Mr de Groot said.

"Great harm has been done to the people of the Solomon Islands because of the violence and intimidation carried out by certain groups. It will be difficult for the people to go forward if the perpetrators of serious crimes are not brought to justice," Mr de Groot said.

Caritas staff members will also be talking with Caritas Solomon Islands about practical assistance with trauma counseling and rebuilding infrastructure which has been damaged during the violence of the last three years.

"Caritas Australia has been working with Caritas Solomon Islands before the regional intervention and we will continue our work in long-term development with them and other Church organisations, well after the Australian forces leave," he said.

Caritas Australia

Caritas Australia

4 Aug 2003