Rare Book & Manuscript Library
 

Human Rights Watch records : Record Group 4: Africa Watch, 1977-1997, bulk 1989-1995

Summary Information

Abstract

Record Group documents Africa Watch's (AFW) three-pronged strategy to curb human rights abuses on the Continent through reports, missions and cooperative efforts with other NGOs. First, AFW monitored abuses and produced such comprehensive reports during war as Evil Days: Thirty Years of War and Famine in Ethiopia, and Conspicuous Destruction: War, Famine and the Reform Process in Mozambique. Second, although access remained difficult in many African countries, Africa Watch was still able to conduct missions to investigate human rights conditions in Mozambique, Angola, Zimbabwe and South Africa. AFW circumvented this predicament by exchanging information gathered by local in country monitors with other NGOs. Third, besides engaging in collaborative monitoring activities, Africa Watch engaged in many joint documentation projects and lobbying efforts geared toward ending political and ethnic violence in Africa. Finally, other documentary materials include correspondence and e-mail communications, professional, personal and monitoring activity, field notes, testimonies, interviews, advocacy, policy planning material, and briefing papers.

At a Glance

Call No.: HRW RG 4
Bib ID 7746709 View CLIO record
Creator(s) Human Rights Watch (Organization). Africa Watch
Title Human Rights Watch records : Record Group 4: Africa Watch, 1977-1997, bulk 1989-1995
Physical Description 76.25 linear feet (61 record cartons)
Language(s) In Arabic, English, French.
Access

Some parts of the HRW Records are restricted. Restrictions are noted in scope and content notes and indicated in the contents list. Access to restricted material may only be granted with the written permission of HRW and must be submitted two months in advance of your research visit.

This collection is located off-site. Please consult the Rare Book and Manuscript Library for further information.

The records of Human Rights Watch are restricted and require the permission of the organization to view, copy, and/or publish. If you wish to request boxes from this collection, please send an email to rbml@columbia.edu detailing the collection, series, and box numbers in which you are interested. Once Human Rights Watch has reviewed the request, the scholar and the Rare Book & Manuscript Library will be contacted with specific instructions.

Arrangement

Arrangement

This Record Group is arranged into 6 series: Series I: Karen Sorensen, 1979-1996; Series II: Bronwen Manby Files, 1977-1997; Series III: Other Country Files, 1985-1997; Series IV: Liberian Coalition for Relief, Resettlement & Reconstruction, 1979-1992; Series V: Rakiya Omaar Files, 1989-1995; Series VI: Publications, 1990-1991, 1996.

Description

Summary

Materials include correspondence and e-mail communications, mission reports, testimonies and interviews, addresses and contact lists, confidential interoffice memos, legal and advocacy material, internal planning and policy material, declassified government and United Nations documents, published and unpublished human rights reports from individuals and fellow non-governmental organizations (NGOs), press clippings and news releases, and maps. Another category of documents consists of HRW reports and briefing papers, as well as press releases and open letters to heads of state, governments and various government agencies.

Materials related to missions contain unpublished information on sources, cases, and the state of affairs in various countries. They include professional and personal mission notes taken by country researchers and monitors during investigative field trips, testimonies by and interviews with victims of various human rights abuses, pre-mission and post-mission memos, material on research methodology, correspondence and e-mail communications, addresses and contact lists, as well as photographic records.

Regionally and thematically, these documents cover the various democratic transitions on the African continent such as in South Africa. The papers also comprise such human rights advocacy initiatives as the attempt to prosecute the Rwandan genocide, the international effort to ban land mines, the challenge to ban the use of child soldiers; and the campaigns to promote freedom of expression and academic freedom.

  • Series 1: Karen Sorensen

    This series contains files relating to Karen Sorensen's work as a HRW/Africa Watch Research Associate during the early to mid-1990s. In 1996, Ms. Sorenson became an HRW on-line research associate. The series is divided into two subseries: subject and country files.

  • Series 2: Bronwen Manby Files

    This series represents Ms. Manby's work as a consultant on South Africa from 1992 to the mid-1990s. After moving through various positions during her tenure at HRW/Africa Watch, she resigned as Deputy Director in 2003. In 2003, Ms. Manby became the Director of the Africa Governance Monitoring and Advocacy Project (AfriMAP) at the Open Society Institute in London.

  • Series 3: Other Country Files

    In the early 1990s, HRW/Africa expanded its mission beyond its initial concentration on southern Africa and the Horn of Africa to include the entire continent. The files comprise the following states: Angola, Benin, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Guinea, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Liberia, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Africa, Sudan, Togo, Uganda, West Africa, Zaire, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. The files contain archival materials collected or produced by Africa Watch staff, and are arranged alphabetically by country and subject. The files consist of articles, correspondence, memoranda, mission notes, newsletters, press clippings, publications, and general reports.

  • Series 4: Liberian Coalition for Relief, Resettlement & Reconstruction,

    In 1989, Liberia experienced a violent civil war. In its aftermath, thousands of Liberians were either internally displaced or became refugees. Established in August 1990, the Liberian Coalition for Relief, Resettlement & Reconstruction (Coalition) sought to address the issues confronting refugees in Liberia and the United States. In October 1990, the Coalition, utilizing space donated by Human Rights Watch (HRW), organized a multi-pronged humanitarian effort that sought to alleviate the suffering of Liberians by shipping food stuffs and medical supplies; engaging in collaborative relief activities with other human rights organizations; addressing refugee issues with Liberian and U.S. officials; hosting fundraising events; and giving lectures to churches, universities and organizations. The series is divided into two subseries: general and subject files.

  • Series 5: Rakiya Omaar Files

    This series represents Ms. Omaar's work as Executive Director of Africa Watch from 1989-1994. The series is divided into two subseries: general and subject files.

  • Series 6: Publications, 1990-1991, 1996

    This series contains two publications collected by Human Rights Watch/Africa staff. The first, BBC Monitoring-Summary of World Broadcasts comprises May through December 1991; and January through August and November 1996. The second, Afrique includes runs from May through December 1990; and April through December 1991.

Using the Collection

Rare Book and Manuscript Library

Restrictions on Access

Some parts of the HRW Records are restricted. Restrictions are noted in scope and content notes and indicated in the contents list. Access to restricted material may only be granted with the written permission of HRW and must be submitted two months in advance of your research visit.

This collection is located off-site. Please consult the Rare Book and Manuscript Library for further information.

The records of Human Rights Watch are restricted and require the permission of the organization to view, copy, and/or publish. If you wish to request boxes from this collection, please send an email to rbml@columbia.edu detailing the collection, series, and box numbers in which you are interested. Once Human Rights Watch has reviewed the request, the scholar and the Rare Book & Manuscript Library will be contacted with specific instructions.

Terms Governing Use and Reproduction

Single photocopies may be made for research purposes. The RBML maintains ownership of the physical material only. Copyright remains with the creator and his/her heirs. The responsibility to secure copyright permission rests with the patron.

Preferred Citation

Identification of specific item; Date (if known); Human Rights Watch Records, Record Group, Box Number; Center for Human Rights Documentation and Research, Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Columbia University Library.

Accrual

Records76.25 linear ft. 1st accession accumulation, 1988-97

About the Finding Aid / Processing Information

Columbia University Libraries, Rare Book and Manuscript Library

Processing Information

Papers processed Christopher M. Laico and Craig P. Savino (NYU, 2008) 2008.

Finding Aid written Christopher M. Laico 2008.

Revision Description

2012-08-14 File created.

2012-08-29 xml document instance created by Christopher M. Laico.

2015-09-30 xml document instance updated by Adrien Hilton to reflect restrictions in vetted boxes.

2019-05-20 EAD was imported spring 2019 as part of the ArchivesSpace Phase II migration.

Subject Headings

The subject headings listed below are found in this collection. Links below allow searches at Columbia University through the Archival Collections Portal and through CLIO, the catalog for Columbia University Libraries, as well as ArchiveGRID, a catalog that allows users to search the holdings of multiple research libraries and archives.

All links open new windows.

Subject

Heading "CUL Archives:"
"Portal"
"CUL Collections:"
"CLIO"
"Nat'l / Int'l Archives:"
"ArchivedGRID"
Human Rights Watch (Organization) Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID

History / Biographical Note

Biographical / Historical

In the early 1990s, HRW/Africa expanded its mission beyond its initial concentration on southern Africa and the Horn of Africa to include the entire continent.

The files comprise the following states: Angola, Benin, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Guinea, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Liberia, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Africa, Sudan, Togo, Uganda, West Africa, Zaire, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.

The files contain archival materials collected or produced by Africa Watch staff, and are arranged alphabetically by country and subject. The files consist of articles, correspondence, memoranda, mission notes, newsletters, press clippings, publications, and general reports.