Weekly News Roundup- May 24, 2019

ICA’s invitation to celebrate International Archives Week:

How to plan a successful International Week step by step: for more info go here. We invite you to celebrate the International Archives Week on the theme of the conference Adelaide 2019, “Designing the Archive” which will take place in South Australia from 21 to 25 October.

From Monday 3 to Sunday 9 June 2019, celebrate the International Archives Week in your institution, your company or your department. Use this global event for archivists and records managers in order to make known the role of archives and share your experience and the importance of your work. Show that the archives profession is fun, inclusive, varied and that your expertise is helpful to everyone.

News around the world (highlights from the ICA’s Human Rights Working Group Newsletter)

Rwanda to sustain push for transfer of genocide archives. The government will not relent in its pursuit for the transfer of archives of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, which are housed at the Arusha-based International Residue Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals, the Minister for Justice, Johnston Busingye, has said. Go here.

Génocide des Tutsi au Rwanda : une commission d’enquête française crée des tensions chez les historiens. French president Emmanuel Macron announced the appointment of an eight person commission to consult “all France’s archives relating to the [Rwandan] genocide . . in order to analyse the role and engagement of France during that period.” The commissioners “will have access to classified documents from the foreign and defence ministries but also the DGSE, France’s external intelligence service, and reportedly the archives of then president Francois Mitterrand,” The Telegraph reported. Tensions over the composition of the commission were reported in Jeune Afrique. https://www.jeuneafrique.com/757783/politique/genocide-des-tutsi-au-rwanda-une-commission-denquete-francaise-cree-des-tensions-chez-les-historiens


Belgium Apologizes for Kidnapping Children From African Colonies. Belgium’s prime minister officially apologized “for the kidnapping, segregation, deportation and forced adoption of thousands of children born to mixed-race couples during its colonial rule of Burundi, Congo and Rwanda,” the New York Times reported. “An estimated 10,000 to 20,000 children were segregated from their parents . . and placed in orphanages and schools predominantly run by the Catholic Church.” The prime minister said the government will provide resources to finance research on the separations, “open up its colonial archives to metis people, and offer administrative help to those seeking to gain access to their official records and seeking Belgian nationality.” https://www.nytimes.com/2019/04/04/world/europe/belgium-kidnapping-congo-rwanda-burundi.html

Declassification Diplomacy: Trump Administration Turns Over Massive Collection of Intelligence Records on Human Rights and Argentina. The U.S. gave Argentina the final tranche of declassified U.S. government records created between 1975 and 1984 related to human rights abuses committed during the military dictatorship in Argentina (1976-1983). The transfer marked the end of the “largest government-to-government declassification release in United States history,” the U.S. National Archives said. https://nsarchive.gwu.edu/briefing-book/southern-cone/2019-04-12/declassification-diplomacy-trump-administration-turns-over-massive-collection-intelligence-records

Russia returned communist party archive to Israel ‘almost secretly’“Russian authorities have returned the archive of Israel’s communist party, which was taken from Tel Aviv to Moscow in 1977,” reported Middle East Monitor. At that time the party “feared that the [recently elected] right-wing Likud-led government would seize the archive, so it was sent to Moscow.” The archive was actually returned in May 2015 to Israel’s National Library, but “the move has only just been revealed by local media sources inside Israel.”https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20190424-russia-returned-communist-party-archive-to-israel-almost-secretly/

Archivists race to digitize slavery records before the history is lost. Using British colonial records of the slave trade that “in many cases” include in the descriptions “drawings of facial scars made by Africans to show their origins and identities,” a researcher at Canada’s Trent University is developing a computer program to recognize and catalog the scars, reported PRI. The data will be fed into the international information hub called “Enslaved,” which is scheduled to go online in 2020. Meanwhile, the national archives of Sierra Leone holds the original records in buildings “with broken windows, frequent power failures and no air-conditioning.”https://www.pri.org/stories/2019-04-04/archivists-race-digitize-slavery-records-history-lost

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