Across the globe, Sites of Conscience are increasingly reporting that their governments are unwilling to acknowledge well-documented atrocities, that former sites of detention and torture are at risk of destruction, and that those in power are promoting revisionist histories that glorify perpetrators of war crimes and anti-democratic action under the guise of populism. This trend has coincided with a rise in nationalist rhetoric and extremist policies that undermine core democratic values, and exclude from the public narrative the stories of marginalized groups, of victims and survivors, rural and indigenous communities, religious and ethnic minorities.

Sites of Conscience across the globe are perfectly equipped spaces to counter this erasure of historic truths. To support them, the Coalition is hosting three virtual global learning exchanges in 2020 designed to meet urgent needs related to capacity-building in documentation, youth engagement, human rights education and advocacy through digital platforms, each of which will enable our member sites to fortify their communities against the forces of historic revisionism and in doing so protect human rights and democratic values for decades to come.

Unless otherwise noted, all Sites of Conscience members are invited to join these meetings regardless of which region they reside. In some cases, where noted, the public is also invited to attend. For more information, contact Silvia Fernandez, the Coalition’s Director of Global Networks, at sfernandez@sitesofconscience.org.

Middle East and North Africa

The first of the 2020 global meetings was hosted by the Middle East and North African Network, and focused on using digital tools to connect with communities around issues of human rights. The three-day meeting was held from October 19-21, 2020 and offered multiple opportunities to learn about the wide selection of virtual tools that Sites of Conscience around the world use to increase engagement around digital mapping of human rights abuses, memorialization, documentation and creating memory spaces online. In addition, specific capacity-building workshops focused on facilitating virtual dialogues, creating podcasts, strengthening social media and advocacy skills, and building online communities. For more information, please contact Silvia Fernández at sfernandez@sitesofconscience.org.

For more information, please contact Silvia Fernández, Global Networks Program Director.

Latin America and the Caribbean

The Latin American and Caribbean Sites of Conscience Network hosted a three-day global meeting on November 23-25, 2020 to discuss the findings of their current research study, “Revisionism and Denialism in Latin America and the Caribbean: Reflections from the Urgencies of the Present.” Additionally, the gathering provided opportunities to exchange experiences and strategies across regions; receive training in key aspects of countering repression, revisionism and denialism; and acquire concrete tools to address the current risks faced by memory sites and their workers. For more information, please contact Gegê Leme Joseph at gjoseph@sitesofconscience.org.

For more information, please contact Gegê Leme Joseph, Regional Manager for Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean.

Asia and the Pacific

Hosted by the Asian and Pacific Sites of Conscience Network and the Global Initiative for Justice, Truth and Reconciliation (GIJTR), this meeting aims to support and bring to the fore community-led documentation initiatives around the globe that are actively contributing to social reconstruction, democracy building, and the promotion of human rights. To that end, the gathering is designed to serve as a global platform for theoretical discussion, experience-sharing and skills-building on the role of documentation as a tool for accountability, advocacy and memorialization. In addition, two trainings in community-led documentation will be held for Sites of Conscience members.

Participating panelists and trainers will share experiences on documentation from a variety of contexts, including GIJTR’s community-led documentation program with Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh, and community truth-telling experiences in Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America and MENA.

For more information, please contact Silvia Fernandez, Global Networks Program Director.