Follow us on Twitter

Truth-Seeking and Memorialization

You are here

As showed in our other research in Cambodia, DRC, Iraq, and northern Uganda, it is important for civilians affected by violence to know what happened during the conflicts and why it happened. In CAR, 89 percent of respondents said it is important to know what happened during the conflicts. They most frequently say it is important because the truth must be known (58%), to understand why the conflicts and violence happened (42%), and to know who is responsible (35%).

A majority of the population (80%) was willing to talk openly and publicly about what they or their family have experienced. Most of them were willing to do so because they felt they owed it to themselves (37%), because it was their duty (26%), or so that those responsible would be known and identified (25%). Those who said they were not willing to talk openly about their experience most frequently said it was because they were afraid of reprisals (38%), because it was not their role (29%), because they did not want to remember the past (13%) or because they had nothing to say (10%).

While establishing the truth about what happened is a common demand, there is much debate on how this can best be achieved, and on the role of memorialization. This study did not discuss such processes, but respondents were nevertheless asked whether they believed memorials were important. A majority answered positively (74%). Among them, they generally said memorials were important so the past could not be easily forgotten (55%), memorials would pay respect to the victims (39%), educate the youth (32%), provide recognition of the violence (16%), and help explain what happened (12%).

Among those who did not believe memorials were important (26%), they generally felt that the community should forget (44%) and that it would bring back bad memories (44%). About one in four (26%) also said such memorials would be useless because the past is already known.

Figure 29: Memorials