The International Council on Archives notes with concern the burning of the Institute of the Industrial Research Institute, a United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) affiliate which held rare collections of research materials and reports on Sudan, as well as the dangerous fighting in areas adjacent to the National Museum, National Record Office, Sudan National Library, Sudan Radio & TV, and the Sudan Section of the Library of the University of Khartoum. These institutions are the principal national repositories of records and collections of information about Sudan, its history and development. In the confusion of the war, documents kept in such buildings can be inadvertently or maliciously destroyed.
It is essential to protect archives and documentary collections to ensure the proper functioning of society, to support the exercise of civil rights, and to document the history of the peoples of Sudan. We urge Sudan’s public authorities to protect and secure the records of these public bodies and educational institutions. Officials should prepare contingency plans for protecting such buildings from attacks that could lead to the destruction of documentary materials. If possible, public authorities should underwrite copying programmes for essential records and identify a safe site for preserving the copies.
The International Council on Archives is further concerned about reports that the personal collections of citizens, which are part of the fabric of history in Sudan, are in danger. We urge persons holding such collections to take measures to protect them, so far as possible during these calamitous times.
Finally, we register our deep concern for the personal safety of the courageous archivists who struggle to protect the archives and library materials during this time of conflict. ICA strongly request the public authorities and the different actors in the conflict to respect the work carried out by these professionals and to protect their lives and integrity.