This register gave members of the public a chance to express their regret at failing to prevent human rights violations and to demonstrate their commitment to reconciliation.

Mrs Mary Burton, the TRC Commissioner who proposed the establishment of the register, explains:
'The register has been established in response to a deep wish for reconciliation in the hearts of many South Africans -- people who did not perhaps commit gross violations of human rights but nevertheless wish to indicate their regret for failures in the past to do all they could have done to prevent such violations; people who want to demonstrate in some symbolic way their commitment to a new kind of future in which human rights abuses will not take place.

'We know that many South Africans are ready and eager to turn away from a past history of division and discrimination. Guilt for wrongdoing needs to be translated into positive commitment to building a better society - the healthiest and most productive form of atonement.'

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