Release of the Guiding Principles for Safe Havens for Archives at Risk

There is growing consensus among practitioners with regard to the need for a general approach to the protection of archives/records at Risk.

The Guiding Principles for Safe Havens for Archives at Risk, based on a wide range of existing international experience, provide guidance for both sending and hosting institutions for situations in which the safeguarding of originals or security copies through relocation can contribute to Dealing with the Past processes, or to preserving archives/records requiring immediate action to protect them from the effects of natural disasters.

Dealing with the Past refers to the processes addressing the rights of victims and societies as a whole to truth, justice, reparation and guarantees of non-recurrence in the aftermath of grave human rights violations, breaches of international humanitarian law and related grave forms of corruption that facilitated these crimes. Archives/records serve as irreplaceable materials for ongoing and future processes for Dealing with the Past and their preservation thus requires special efforts.

Such archives/records are often at risk of destruction or alteration for a number of reasons, including conscious and unconscious acts, neglect, or storage in inappropriate conditions. Archives/records are also threatened by natural disasters, often due to the effects of climate change, such as the rise in seawater levels, earthquakes and hurricanes. These types of situation, and many others, often require a rapid response to protect the documents concerned in safe havens abroad. The following document seeks to establish a set of principles to enable this protection for Archives at Risk.

Follow this link to access the Guiding Principles for Safe Havens for Archives at Risk


swisspeace has been mandated by the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs of Switzerland to coordinate the international working group and the elaboration of these Principles.