25 October 2018
Solomon communities reportedly seeing positive change through a justice programme that had its genesis in 1997
I am very pleased to have read that isolated communities in Solomon Islands have began reporting a reduction in domestic violence and other crimes reportedly due to a project aimed at improving conflict resolution.
A Community Governance and Grievance Management Program has been introduced and which is aimed aims to address †the training of locally appointed community officers to become mediators, both in times of conflict and to facilitate better delivery of government services.
It has been said the programme was developed in response to widespread consultations and research on access to justice in rural Solomon Islands, carried out by the World Bank with funding from Australia, in the aftermath of the violent ethnic conflict during the late nineties and early 2000s.
In late 1997 I proposed the creation of neighbourhood police posts in all rural communities and the posting of special constables in those locations that would, with proper training, undertake the work, now 21 years later is successfully being performed by appointed community officers supported financially by Australia and the World Bank.
In 1997 there was no money to help get the neighbourhood policy off the ground but at Loina in Malaita the local community did respond and built their own police post from bush materials.
The Strategic Review of Solomon Islands security needs, conducted by Australia at the request of myself and the Solomon Islands Government and presented to the Prime Minister and Cabinet in April 1999 fully supported the concept of stationing special constables to rural police posts to undertake the same kind of work now being done by paid community officers.
Despite the Strategic Review being behind what I had proposed in order to alleviate local crimes, offences and such incidences of domestic violence, there was no funding offered for any of the recommendations the Strategic Review proposed.