TRNUC calls out for volunteer assistance |11 May 2021
Truth, Reconciliation and National Unity Commission chairperson Gabrielle Louise McIntyre, prior to commencing yesterday’s sitting, reiterated the call the commission made last Tuesday concerning the circumstances in which the commission is attempting to implement its mandate, and its need for voluntary assistance.
Mrs McIntyre noted that the commission has to date received no response to the call for volunteer assistance from the Seychellois community, and that the commission is operating under severe capacity and resource constraints.
“It does not have the basic, support staff necessary and its attempts from the commencement of operations in 2019 to be allocated sufficient minimum support have been consistently rejected by the financial authorities. In response, the commission has attempted to implement various cost-free measures, relying upon much-needed international expertise, which has received extremely limited backing from relevant authorities. The lack of support for these measures has further hindered unnecessarily the ability of the commission to deliver on its mandate and meet the expectations of the Seychellois community,” Mrs McIntyre noted.
She went on to call for voluntary assistance from the Seychellois community so as to address the “huge backlog” in translations. The commission currently has a small number of volunteers working with vice-chairperson of the commission Michael Green.
“As was advised last week, the commission has a huge backlog in translations, and this backlog is impeding the efficiency of its determinations of complaints. The commission does not have a single translator in-house. The commission is also seeking volunteer assistance with in-hearing interpretation. The commission is supported by just one interpreter. It cannot be reasonably expected that one person has the capacity to interpret accurately for a prolonged period of time, day in and day out of the hearings of the commission. Indeed, placing that burden on a single person is unconscionable.”
The commission is also seeking volunteers to conduct research for the commission, to establish the context of violations alleged, facts important to the establishment of the truth, and does not presently have a single staff member dedicated to research, Mrs McIntyre said.
In addition, the commission is without any legal support staff to assist it with its determinations of complaints, despite its mandate to gather, collate and analyse information or complaints, and to make decisions in over 400 complaints, in addition to conducting amnesty proceedings, all within the next 15 months.
“Volunteer staff with all of these skills are sought. As was made clear previously, the commission does not have computers or other equipment, or office space to allocate to potential volunteers. But not only are we seeking people to volunteer their time, but also to use their own resources in doing so,” Mrs McIntyre concluded.