The Nordic Truth and Reconciliation Commissions: A new TRC model for resolving historic and ongoing violations of indigenous rights
The indigenous Sami and the Kven (a cross-border minority group) in the Nordic countries have long discussed the possibilty, and desirability, of engaging in an examination of colonialist policies carried out by their three respective states. Although measures of reparations and reconciliation have been made by the states at various points in time, the demands for a more systematic approach to past wrongs have nevertheless resulted in truth and reconciliation commissions being established in Norway (2018), Sweden (2020 and 2021), and Finland (2021). These four commissions belong to a small but growing group of truth commission set up in democratic welfare states to address historical wrongs committed against marginalised groups. The paper examines the genesis of these commissions, as well as their mandates and composition. Through a comparative empirical analysis based on desk-study analysis, I argue that the origin of these commissions is best understood in light of a wider Sami and Kven movement across the Nordic countries demanding recognition of historic cultural and economic repression. These claims are situated in a global context concerned with transitional justice, truth commissions, and indigenous rights. While the TRCs examined here have been inspired by truth commissions elsewhere in the world (particularly the Canadian TRC), the moulding and shaping of these truth commisions are products of collective cross-border concerns and solutions, while also tailored to national realities. As a result we may be seeing the contours of new Nordic TRC model(s), which offers new perspectives on decolonization.
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Senter for samiske studier Skriftserie nr. 23
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