Bishop Likely to Have Role in Peru Reconciliation Panel

LIMA, Peru, SEPT. 5, 2001 ( A Catholic bishop will likely be an observer on the Commission for Truth and Reconciliation that plans to investigate 20 years of human-rights abuses.

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In a statement, the Peruvian bishops´ conference revealed that John Paul II is pleased with the commission´s objective, and «points out that the topic of reconciliation is so dear to the Church that the Pope´s message for the next Day of Peace … will be ´No Peace Without Forgiveness.´»

Last month President Alejandro Toledo indicated that he hoped to see a bishop on the commission.

The bishops´ conference consulted the Vatican, which replied that «the canonical norm establishes that bishops cannot accept public posts.» The Vatican State Secretariat suggested instead that a bishop participate as an observer.

Bishop Armando Bambarén, president of the episcopal conference, will likely be the observer, Vatican Radio said.

The commission will examine terrorist crimes against humanity, committed between May 1980 and November 2000 and attributed to state agents, paramilitary forces, guerrillas and terrorists.

Francisco Soberón, president of the Human Rights Association of Peru, said 1,600 cases of violation of human rights were registered between 1980 and 2000, including the massacres of Accomarca, Cayara and Ayacucho.

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