Middle East and North Africa Regional Network
As some countries across the Middle East and North Africa attempt to come to terms with changes in regimes, and others continue their struggles for peace and justice, memory and memorialization have gained social and political significance in the region. They have become important mechanisms to honor victims, rebuild communities divided by conflict, document gross human rights violations, and engage citizens in issues of human rights, peace and justice.
Since its founding in 2011, the MENA Sites of Conscience Network has come together to address key questions, such as: What are the mechanisms that societies need to come to terms with the past? How can a society that was entrenched in a culture of silence and repression rebuild relations and promote trust among citizens through civic engagement and dialogue? How can memory and memorialization counter revisionist narratives and promote a culture that is based on truth and justice?
While the answers to these questions vary by country, the MENA Sites of Conscience Network come together with a common goal of preserving memory to foster societies that embrace justice and accountability, preserve and protect memory as a universal right, build bridges between different perspectives to reveal truth, foster a culture of reconciliation and human rights, and fight impunity with the goal of achieving a democratic and peaceful future for all.
For more information, or to become involved, please contact Justine DiMayo,
Regional Manager for Europe, the Middle East and North Africa.
Regional Projects and Resources
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Building on the knowledge gained through the series of online capacity-building workshops to counter hate speech in the MENA region, ICSC, and its MENA members Act for the Disappeared (Lebanon), Gusoor (Yemen) and Syrian Network for Human Rights (Turkey) have co-designed and launched with six forcibly displaced people from the region a regional online campaign to counter harmful narratives on forced displacement and build new inclusive narratives that foster better understanding of the positive role forcibly displaced persons play in host societies.
Documenting human rights violations is essential for correcting the record, fighting impunity and countering efforts on the part of authoritarian regimes to deny or rewrite history – but ongoing conflict and repressive tactics can make it extremely difficult for communities to carry out this vital work. As one solution, in 2016, 14 members of the MENA Sites of Conscience Network partnered to create the Mena Mapping Project (Damirouna), which virtually documents sites of human rights violations in the region. The interactive digital map documents 152 sites in eight countries, including detention centers, prisons, checkpoints and other sites where violations occurred.
The International Coalition of Sites of Conscience – Europe (ICSC-Europe) is partnering with the Hrant Dink Foundation (HDF), a Coalition member in Turkey, to support the implementation of “Utilizing digital technology for social cohesion, positive messaging and peace by boosting collaboration, exchange and solidarity,” a project awarded to HDF by the European Union Delegation in Lebanon in December 2021.
To ensure that the experiences of those who were detained at such sites are not lost, the International Coalition of Sites of Conscience (ICSC), alongside its members in the region, developed this digital map to document and share the stories and history of human rights abuses at sites across MENA.