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The institution of Archives of Morocco, which has just been inaugurated, is one of the most important institutions needed in any democratic country to write a rational and pluralistic history and preserve memory”, Mr. Driss El Yazami, President of the National Human Rights Council (CNDH).

During the inauguration ceremony of the institution of “Archives of Morocco”, held on Friday, May 27th, 2011, at the Headquarters of the National Library of the Kingdom of Morocco in Rabat, Mr. EL Yazami called on all stakeholders to mobilize in order to make the institution of Archives of Morocco an effective structure with the necessary technology; an institution able to respond to the national needs and respect international standards.

CNDH President indicated that the final report of the Equity and Reconciliation Commission (IER) included several specific recommendations related to history, memory and archives policy and access conditions. Such recommendations were made to establish a scientific and peaceful relation with our history and memory. The IER was urged to make these recommendations, especially after discovering to what extent a part of the public and private archives was degraded, and due to the absence of a national modern institutional framework responsible for the collection, sorting and preservation of archives.

It’s worth mentioning here that the National Human Rights Council was entrusted with the follow-up of the implementation of the IER’s recommendations. It contributed to the creation process of the institution of Archives of Morocco and to drafting Law # 69/99 on the archives, establishing a working group on archives, history and memory. Consisting of experts and specialists, this working group was entrusted with many tasks: suggesting best means to preserve public archives, organizing of several consultation meetings with stakeholders concerned to implement the law of archives, mainly the Ministry of Culture, organizing seminars on the issue and implementing a program related to the implementation of the IER’s recommendations in the field of history, archives and memory (IER 2). This program is financed by the European Union with a budget of 8 million Euros.

For his part, Mr. Himmich Ben Salem, Minister of Culture, explained that the institution of Archives of Morocco will work on the preservation of the Moroccan memory. He said that the institution will form its administrative and technical staff, provide researchers with access to archives, provide necessary technical supports, etc. He added that archives are not only important for memory, but they are also important for understanding the founding mechanisms and instruments of a society.

Mr. Mahjoub El Haiba, Inter-ministerial Human Rights Delegate, stressed the role played by the Equity and Reconciliation Commission in promoting the national archives and putting their legal and institutional foundations.

He urged all segments of society to be interested in the issue of archives, which are marginalized in several government and private departments. He stressed the importance of training and continuing education in this field.

Ms Corrine Andre, representative of the EU delegation to Morocco, highlighted the importance the European Union gives to the implementation of the IER’s recommendations and to the preservation of archives. “Without a trace, there is no memory, without memory there is no history” she pointed out. That’s why the European Union will support the institution of Archives of Morocco. It is an important and promising project, she concluded.

For his part, Mr. Jamaa Baida, Director of the institution of Archives of Morocco, said that it is a major project that needs important human and financial resources and contribution of all stakeholders concerned. He highlighted the importance of such institution in building a modern democratic country and called for a broad public awareness campaign on the importance of archives.

Created under Law # 69/99 on archives, published on November 30th, 2007, ’Archives of Morocco’ is a public institution with legal personality and financial autonomy. It is primarily responsible for saving the national archival heritage, ensuring the creation, preservation, organization and communication of archives for administrative, scientific, social or cultural purposes.

The archives institution is entrusted with a mission to promote and coordinate the management program of archives, protect, promote and enhance the national archival heritage, establish standardized practices of collecting, sorting, disposal, classification, description, preventive conservation, restoration and replacement of archival materials and to promote the field of archives and scientific research, professional training and international cooperation.

The institution, which will be located at the headquarters of the former ‘General Library’, is administered by a board of directors and managed by a director. In addition to its chairman, the board is composed of State officials and dignitaries appointed by the Prime Minister, from the public or private sector, for their expertise in the conservation of archives, for a period of five years, renewable once.