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Projects of Memory

Questions to Mr. Zainabi Ahmed Taoufiq, Head of the CCDH Collective Rights and Regional Affairs, in charge of community reparation.

The aspect of memory begins to take shape in the community reparation. The Advisory Council on Human Rights (CCDH) has signed an agreement with the Ministry of Housing, Town Planning and Development to rehabilitate detention centers and convert them into places of memory. Which centers are concerned?

The detention centers which covered by the convention are Derb Moulay Cherif, Agdz, Tagounite, Skoura and Kelaat Mgouna. The agreement also provides for an intervention at the level of the Tazmamart center.

Would you please remind us of the process?

At the end of its action, the Equity and Reconciliation Commission (IER) issued four key recommendations with a national character on memory and history. These are:

- The organization of archives in a regulatory framework;

- The establishment of an institution responsible for safeguarding the archives;

- The creation of an institute of Morocco's present history;

- The establishment of a national museum of history.

These four recommendations are subject now to an in-depth review of the CCDH, which is in charge of following up the implementation of the IER recommendations, and by an inter-ministerial committee.

In addition to these recommendations of national character, there are some with a regional character. They are included in the recommendations relating to the community reparation to give a symbolic dimension to this program in addition to its material dimension.

The current objective is to preserve an active regional collective memory linked to gross human rights violations and ensure reconciliation between:

- local communities and the State;

- local communities and secret detention centers;

- the State and a painful and long-forgotten history.

Based on the IER initial recommendations, a first work of operationalization was conducted together with the 11 local coordination bodies in charge of community reparation program. This first work has helped to collect the views of local stakeholders and their conception of the preservation of memory.

What are the funds earmarked for these projects?

The financial study is being finalized, which will enable us to have a clear idea at least about the rehabilitation work after the expertise that will be conducted by the Ministry of Housing, Town Planning and Development. However, we have already a rough idea on the necessary budget per center. For example, the Agdz center will need 8 MDH for works of rehabilitation and equipment. For rehabilitation work, we have already firm commitments from the Ministries of Housing and Interior. Also, an agreement on the preservation of the former detention centers, is being ratified with the European Union and would mobilize for this purpose approximately 800 000 euros.

After signing this agreement with the Ministry of Housing, what are the next steps?

There are four steps ahead. The first would be to establish the modalities for transferring the abovementioned detention centers to the CCDH. The second is to achieve a technical expertise about the buildings of such centers in close collaboration with the Ministry of Housing, Town Planning and Development, and an accurate assessment of the costs of their rehabilitation. The third is to enrich and complete the final conception of the positive preservation of these places of memory through a series of workshops, the first of which will be held on December 22, 2008. These three workshops will be open to government departments, associations of victims, human rights associations, international organizations and former prisoners in addition to developers and architects. The ultimate goal would be to finalize the initial proposals while taking into account the views of the parties concerned and ensuring the sustainability of projects. The fourth step is to implement the various conceptions selected.

Various countries, who have experienced dark years, have adopted different approaches to “memorialisation”. What is the contribution and added value of the Moroccan experience?

While exploiting the achievements of previous international experience, I believe that the Moroccan experience has paved the way for local communities to develop a conception, which is suitable for the preservation of memory; a conception that combines history and socio-economic development.