14-16 march, 2018, Centro Cultural de la Memoria Haroldo Conti.

The conference was a success, not only due its high attendance, including representatives of UNESCO, national authorities and prominent specialists in the field of archives and human rights, but also due to the active participation of those who were part of the workshops and worked intensively for two days to share ideas and challenges of this type of archives, thus helping to build a new agenda on the subject that focuses on their contribution to the processes of democratic consolidation.

Adding the so-called “human rights archives” to the agenda contributes to the recognition of their threefold role: to guarantee the right of victims to know what happened; to contribute to the fight against impunity and the promotion of compensation policies, investigation and restoration of the rule of law; and to become an essential source for the promotion of memory policies.

Both public conferences and workshops involving professionals and specialists from the field of archives and human rights were an opportunity to open a space of dialogue and to exchange knowledge and good practices related to the specific task of this type of archives. The following topics and matters were discussed:

  • Accessibility to public and private archives, the difficulties for their good use.
  • Human rights archives and the judicial processes to fight against impunity.
  • The approach to the past and the preservation of memory. Their contribution as a guarantee of non-repetition.
  • The different uses of the archives.
  • The new challenges for the human rights archives.
  • The need for policies to safeguard and preserve archives in contexts of conflict or post-conflict.

Opening conference video


In the context of the conference, two exhibitions were opened with different approaches to address memory related to serious human rights violations. They were available for visits from mid-March until the end of May 2018 at the Centro Cultural de la Memoria Haroldo Conti (Haroldo Conti Cultural Center of Memory):

Relicarios (Reliquaries), by Colombian artist Erika Diettes, a work that collects the remains of lives cut short by the violence and the armed conflict in Colombia. It is a call not to forget the atrocity of what happened but also a tribute to life.

Organization: CIPDH-UNESCO and Lannan Foundation
Collaboration: Embassy of Colombia and Centro Cultural de la Memoria Haroldo Conti.

Backstage video of the exhibition Relicarios

El informe Nunca Más: la potencia de un archivo (The Nunca Más Report: the Power of an Archive), in charge of local curator Luciana Delfabro, presented the work carried out by the National Commission on the Disappearance of Persons before writing the mythical report. Records, letters, lists, questionnaires, statements and resolutions are some of the documents that are the lesser known and less visited part of this archive.
Implemented by: CIPDH-UNESCO and Memoria Abierta.
Collaboration: Archivo Nacional de la Memoria (National Memory Archives) and Centro Cultural de la Memoria Haroldo Conti (Haroldo Conti Cultural Center of Memory).

Backstage video of the exhibition Relicarios