Members at Risk

Statement on the Liquidation of International Memorial

March 1, 2022

The International Coalition of Sites of Conscience (ICSC) condemns, in the strongest terms possible, the decision made on February 28, 2022 by the Appellate Division of the Russian Supreme Court to liquidate its member International Memorial.

As the oldest and most eminent civil society organization in Russia, International Memorial is the leading voice for human rights in the country – preserving and sharing the stories of victims of Soviet repression, and amplifying the voices of those advocating for free expression in the country today.

This decision is not only an illegal assault on truth and accountability in the country, but the latest move by the Kremlin to manipulate the past to serve its own political needs and to further repress civil society and human rights in Russia. If a country cannot remember with transparency and honesty its own legacies of injustice – or the authoritarian systems that perpetrated them – it can never properly heal or erect more equitable and peaceful systems.

Russia’s war on memory reaches well beyond its borders. Memorial’s closure is a symptom of a broader effort on the part of Putin to rehabilitate and weaponize grand narratives about the USSR, including through undermining Ukraine’s independent democracy, as well as its own culture, heritage, history, and language. We are witnessing this unfold in real-time with Russia’s devastating war in Ukraine.

As the only global network of historic sites, museums and memory initiatives, ICSC expresses its deepest solidarity with International Memorial, and with the thousands of activists, preservationists, civilians and others working on the ground across the region in repressive environments courageously opposing these assaults on humanity and history. Whether museum workers, archivists, or human rights defenders, we support and amplify their work and dedication to democracy, rights and justice.

On behalf of all ICSC’s global members and partners – many of whom bring the power of their communities, supporters, and governments to this statement by including their signatures below – we call on the international community to raise their voices in support of International Memorial’s work which is increasingly vital in these pivotal times, and specifically to provide protection to museums employees, archivists, and related personnel through urgent visa procedures to help relocate and protect their archives.

Additional Signatures of Support:

1. Justice Access Point (Uganda)
2. Apartheid Museum (South Africa)
3. Human Rights Media Centre (South Africa)
4. District Six Museum (South Africa)
5. Maison des Esclaves (Senegal)
6. Le Consortium des Associations des Jeunes pour la Défense des Victimes de Violences en Guinée (Guinea)
7. African Network Against Extrajudicial Killings and Enforced Disappearances (The Gambia)
8. Association des Victimes, Parents et Amis du 28 Septembre 2009 (Guinea)
9. Forum Pour La Memoire Vigilante (Rwanda/Burundi)
10. Organisation Africaine du Développement Durable et de l’Environnement (Guinea)
11. Global Society Initiative for Peace and Democracy (Uganda and South Sudan)
12. Memorial para la Concordia (Guatemala)
13. Museo de las Memorias, Dictadura y Derechos Humanos (Paraguay)
14. Museo de la Memoria de Rosario (Argentina)
15. Memorium Nuremberg Trials (Germany)
16. Act for the Disappeared (Lebanon)
17. Partners Yemen (Yemen)
18. Damascus Center for Human Rights Studies (Syria)
19. Women’s center for guidance and legal awareness (Egypt)
20. The Mediterranean forum for memory (Tunisia)
21. The Syrian Network for Human Rights (Syria)
22. Justice and Rehabilitation (Tunisia)
23. the Gusoor Organization for Peace and Coexistence (Yemen)
24. Women’s Human Rights Center (Iraq)
25. The Future Partners Foundation for Development (Yemen)
26. UMAM Documentation & Research and Lokman Slim Foundation (Lebanon)
27. Institute for Development of Freedom of Information (Georgia)
28. Centre for Cultural Management (Ukraine)
29. Fund B92 (Serbia)
30. Association (Czech Republic)

31. Stiftung Forum Recht [Law Forum Foundation] (Germany)
32. Museum Our Lord in the Attic (Netherlands)
33. Remembering the Ones We Lost (Uganda)
34. Centre for Public History (Serbia)
35. Museo Internacional para la Democracia (Argentina)
36. Devoir de Memoire (Haiti)
37. Centro Loyola Aycucho (Peru)
38. Asociación Paz y Esperanza (Peru)
39. Asociación por la Memoria y los Derechos Humanos Colonia Dignidad (Chile)
40. Centro de Derechos Humanos Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas A. C. (Mexico)
41. Centro Cultural Museo y Memoria de Neltume (Chile)
42. Fundación 1367 Casa Memoria José Domingo Cañas (Chile)
43. Corporación De Memoria y Cultura de Puchuncaví (Chile)
44. Caminos de la Memoria (Peru)
45. Corporación Parque por la Paz Villa Grimaldi (Chile)
46. Single Mothers Association of Kenya (Kenya)
47. Youth Initiative for Human Rights (Bosnia and Herzegovina)
48. Cultural Heritage Without Borders (Albania)
49. Peace School Foundation of Monte Sole (Italy)
50. Museum of Free Derry (Northern Ireland)
51. Gernika Gogoratuz (Spain)
52. Catoctin Furnace Historical Society (United States)
53. Tucson Jewish Museum & Holocaust Center (United States)
54. Remember the Triangle Fire Coalition (United States)
55. Matilda Joslyn Gage Foundation (United States)
56. Friends of Sheldon Jackson Museum (United States)
57. CORE Hanford (United States)
58. The Collectif des Familles de Disparu(e)s en Algérie (Algeria)
59. Truth Justice Memory Center (Turkey)
60. Belonging (United Kingdom)
61. Creative Memory of the Syrian Revolution (Syria and France)
62. The Balkan Museum Network (Bosnia and Herzegovina)
63. Núcleo de Preservação da Memória Política (Brazil)
64. International Institute of Learning for Social Reconciliation (Guatemala)
65. Manene Cultural Trust (Kenya)

66. Diversity Challenges (Northern Ireland)
67. National Centre for Arts and Culture (The Gambia)
68. Institute for Social Development (Sri Lanka)
69. International Centre for Ethnic Studies (Sri Lanka)
70. Nonviolence International Southeast Asia (Philippines)
71. Network of Families of the Disappeared in Nepal (Nepal)
72. Voices of Women Media (Nepal)
73. Afghanistan Human Rights and Democracy Organization (Afghanistan)
74. Afghanistan Center for Memory and Dialogue (Afghanistan)
75. Centro Nacional Chega! (Timor Leste)
76. Herstories Archive (Sri Lanka)
77. The Tibet Museum (India)
78. Women’s Active Museum on War and Peace (Japan)
79. Youth for Peace (Cambodia)
80. Peace Institute of Cambodia (Cambodia)
81. Le Bois du Cazier (Belgium)
82. Eastern State Penitentiary (United States)
83. President Lincoln’s Cottage (United States)
84. Ohio History Connection (United States)
85. Coordination Nationale Des Familles De disparus En Algérie (Algeria)
86. Association for Justice and Rehabilitation (Tunisia)
87. Museu da Pessoa (Brazil)
88. Pauli Murray Center for History and Social Justice (United States)