THE UNITED NATIONS, HUMAN RIGHTS and the ARCHIVAL PURSUIT

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"Documenting and Memorializing Human Rights Abuses in Africa"
Tom Adami, Chief, Archives and Records Management; United Nations Mission in Sudan (Sudan)

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  • Quite obviously justice, reconciliation, forgiveness and the truth are not the same thing in anyone’s language. Authors such as Derrida have written that forgiveness is a paradox. Something unforgivable is the only thing that calls to be forgiven and hence we are left with our dilemma. One can not forgive the unforgivable. Derrida asserts that too often forgiveness is equated with excuse, regret, amnesty or prescription. Public attempts to elicit contrition of the accused, testimony of the victim and ’justice’ amount to ‘‘performance’ events’.
  • KM – drivers for lack of progress Staff turnover – incredibly high turn over of staff Remote locations – connectivity at the outlying offices Lag in infrastructure – no regular updates to the structure that drives the core business of the organisation Skill of staff – varying levels of staff knowledge of computing Cost & investment – reluctance to invest in what is seen as a secondary or non-core system Centralised decision making process for CITS – all major decisions and purchases are made at HQ in NY

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  • 1. THE UNITED NATIONS, HUMAN RIGHTS and the ARCHIVAL PURSUIT Truth and Reconciliation Commission Vancouver, CANADA March 2011 Tom A. ADAMI Information Management Officer UNMIS
  • 2. Setting the scene….
  • 3. Human Rights! Archives! Who needs them? July 1969 … Apollo 11 moon landing & Nigeria-Biafra war… March 2011 … inequality and abuse of rights continues
  • 4. … through the eyes of children Images drawn by children affected by conflict in Chad in 2009
  • 5.  
  • 6. The long wait Memories fade and things change but tomorrow is a different day.
  • 7. … but who will help the helpers?
  • 8. … .Rwanda, 1994
  • 9.  
  • 10. Is there a best practice model for a TRC?
  • 11. Organisational impediments to KM systems
    • Staff turnover
    • Remote locations
    • Lag in infrastructure
    • Skill set of staff
    • Cost & investment
    • Centralised decision making processes of IT
  • 12. Memory and memorials
  • 13. Hope is what keeps it all in perspective and makes it worthwhile