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Commonwealth chief believes 'truth and reconciliation' summit could open dialogue about past

Baroness Scotland believes a ‘truth and reconciliation’ summit across the 54 Commonwealth states could help to open a dialogue about what Prince Harry dubbed an ‘uncomfortable’ history.

The Secretary-General of the Commonwealth, 65, suggested the association could launch a body similar to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission established in South Africa after the end of apartheid. 

She insisted the Commonwealth has ‘never been frightened’ to have a conversation about race, adding ‘there is so much more still to do’.

Baroness Scotland told the Telegraph: ‘The ministers are all saying this is an issue which we are going to have to deal with, and there is a lot of support. The debate doesn’t go away because you shove it under the carpet.

‘These are not comfortable conversations but this is where the Commonwealth is great, because the people and countries involved are all on that journey. It’s not just talking to one side, we’re all the sides.’  

Baroness Scotland believes a 'truth and reconciliation' summit across the 54 Commonwealth states could help to open a dialogue about what Prince Harry called an 'uncomfortable' history

Baroness Scotland believes a ‘truth and reconciliation’ summit across the 54 Commonwealth states could help to open a dialogue about what Prince Harry called an ‘uncomfortable’ history

Her comments come after the Duke of Sussex told young leaders from the QCT in July that the Commonwealth must acknowledge its ‘uncomfortable’ past in order to ‘right those wrongs.’  

He added: ‘When you look across the Commonwealth there is no way we can move forward unless we acknowledge the past, and I think so many people have done such an incredible job of acknowledging the past and trying to right those wrongs.

‘I think we can all acknowledge that there is so much more still to do.’ 

Baroness Scotland also suggested an organised period like Black History Month may be another successful way to launch debate about the topic.

‘We have never been frightened of having this conversation,’ she said. ‘You can’t say to young people don’t talk about this, don’t talk about colonialism, not about where we have been. It has never been for us black or white, rich or poor. 

The Secretary-General of the Commonwealth, 65, suggested the association could launch a body similar to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission established in South Africa after the end of apartheid

The Secretary-General of the Commonwealth, 65, suggested the association could launch a body similar to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission established in South Africa after the end of apartheid

Her comments come after the Duke of Sussex told young leaders from the QCT in July that the Commonwealth must acknowledge its 'uncomfortable' past in order to 'right those wrongs'

Her comments come after the Duke of Sussex told young leaders from the QCT in July that the Commonwealth must acknowledge its ‘uncomfortable’ past in order to ‘right those wrongs’

‘This has been a conversation we had to have in order to create the Commonwealth.’ 

Her comments came amid the Black Lives Matter movement, which gained global attention after the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis earlier this year.

Mr Floyd, a black man, had gasped ‘I can’t breathe’ while police officer Derek Chauvin knelt on his neck for eight minutes. He died during the incident.

His death sparked protests on a global scale, with Black Lives Matter protesters in Bristol toppling a statue of slave trader Edward Colston and throwing it in a harbour during a demonstration.    

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