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Children and Transitional Justice: Truth-Telling, Accountability and Reconciliation

March, 2010

“It’s only by reviewing the past will we know the present. Only by knowing the present will we make a perspective for the future.”

– Samora Machel, late president of Mozambique.

In the aftermath of our struggle for liberation in Mozambique, this statement gave voice to millions who had fought for an end to oppression and injustice, and dared to hope for peace. We hadachieved the aim of our struggle – liberation from colonialism – but we knew that our country had paid a high price. For children it was devastating. Their schools and health clinics had been destroyed, and the years of education they had lost could not be recovered. They lived their childhood under the burden of economic deprivations caused by the war. Most importantly, they lived through the injuries and deaths of their parents, families and friends and the destruction of their communities. As a people – as a country – we truly appreciated the need to understand why and how the struggle could help us come to terms with our past, to promote reconciliation and to build a Mozambique of equity, justice and freedom, and of social and economic prosperity.

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