Irina Bokova attends the 20th commemoration of the Memory of the World Programme in Uruguay
On 14 September 2012, during her official visit to Uruguay, UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova attended the opening ceremony of the Regional Meeting on Memory Archives, within the framework of the 20th commemoration of the Memory of the World Programme: Human Rights Archives, Memory and Truth in the Southern Cone.
The ceremony was opened by the Minister of Foreign Relations, Mr Luis Almagro, the Minister of Education and Culture, Mr Ricardo Ehrlich, Mr Alberto Breccia Secretary of the Presidency of the Republic of Uruguay, Ms Graciela Jorge, Executive Secretary of Human Rights of the Presidency of the Republic of Uruguay and Mr Jorge Grandi Director of UNESCO Montevideo.
The Director-General underlined that the preservation, protection and the accessibility of documented heritage of the world are key elements for the progress and advancement of knowledge societies.
The Memory of the World Programme was established by UNESCO in 1992 to meet the challenges of protecting endangered documentary heritage. At that time, much of the world's documentary heritage was in a poor state of preservation, which was worsened by war and social upheaval, lack of resources, and ignorance of the importance of this heritage. Across the globe, significant collections have been destroyed as a result of looting or dispersal, illegal trading, destruction, and inadequate storage facilities and budgets.
The Memory of the World Programme serves as UNESCO's flagship activity to promote and protect archives, libraries and museum collections worldwide so that they can be consulted by later generations. Through a wide network of experts, mechanisms have been adopted that foster the exchange of information and promote the key work of preservation and access to documentary material.
These objectives are fundamental to UNESCO, since guaranteeing the continuity of documentary heritage helps to ensure the survival of memory, build the basis of truth and support human rights. This continuity is evidenced in the many items listed on the Memory of the World Register, which includes, among others, documents of the violation of human rights during dictatorial regimes and others that narrate slavery and the slave routes. Both themes are poignantly meaningful for the Latin American and Caribbean region.
It is hoped that over time, all archives related to human rights violations during the region's military dictatorships will be listed in the Memory of the World Registry, so that these abuses will never occur again. Read more