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Human Rights Watch records : Record Group 6: Asia Watch, 1978-1997, 1978-1997, bulk 1987-1997, bulk 1987-1997

Summary Information

Abstract

Record Group 6 documents Asia Watch's (AW) three-branched program of documentation, campaigning, and lobbying in order to promote the observance of internationally recognized human rights norms throughout the region. Utilizing this paradigm, for example, AW tackled such difficult issues as economic aid and democratization efforts; the plight of political prisoners and refugees; the advancement of the freedom of expression, the suppression of political violence in Indonesia and Sri Lanka; and the effect of AIDS and prostitution on women. In the late 1990s, AW expanded its mission by seeking allies within the NGO and business communities in Europe and Japan in order to bring more direct pressure on human rights offenders.

At a Glance

Call No.: HRW RG 6
Bib ID 7748599 View CLIO record
Creator(s) Human Rights Watch (Organization). Asia Watch
Title Human Rights Watch records : Record Group 6: Asia Watch, 1978-1997, 1978-1997, bulk 1987-1997, bulk 1987-1997
Physical Description 152.5 linear feet (122 record cartons)
Language(s) In Chinese, Dutch, English, Filipino, Indonesian, Japanese, Korean, Persian, Tamil, Vietnamese.
Access

The records of Human Rights Watch are restricted unless they have been vetted and cleared for use by HRW. Specific restriction status is noted in the finding aid for each folder (open, vetted; restricted until ___; unvetted). If you wish to request boxes from this collection that have not been vetted, please send an email to rbml@columbia.edu detailing the collection, series, box, and folder numbers in which you are interested, as well as a brief description of your research needs. Once Human Rights Watch has reviewed the request, the researcher will be contacted with specific instructions. Please submit requests at least 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.

Arrangement

Arrangement

This Record Group is arranged into 6 series.

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 AW country researchers during investigative missions, testimonies by and interviews with victims of various human rights abuses, pre-mission and post-mission memos, addresses and contact lists.

Thematically, these documents deal with the various political and social transitions in Asia. The papers comprise such human rights advocacy initiatives as the attempt to alleviate the plight of political prisoners and refugees; the promotion of freedom of expression; the aftermath of the 1989 Tiananmen Square Massacre; the suppression of political violence in Indonesia and Sri Lanka; and the effect of Aids and prostitution on women.

  • Series 1: Robin Munro, China Files

    This series contains files relating to Robin Munro's work as HRW/Asia Watch chief China researcher from 1989 to 1998. The alphabetically arranged files focus predominantly on the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989 and their aftermath. Files include materials on dissident intellectuals, drafts of articles and press reports.

  • Series 2: Country Files

    Country files are arranged alphabetically and represent the following nations: Afghanistan, Australia, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Brunei, Burma, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Laos, Maldives, Malaysia, Mongolia, Nepal, New Caledonia, North Korea, Pakistan, Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Tibet, and Vietnam. The files contain correspondence, mission notes and predominantly research files utilized in the compilation of Asia Watch publications and reports produced from 1987 to 1997.

  • Series 3: General Files

    General files are arranged alphabetically by subject. Subject files consist of newsletters, press releases, reports and project materials dealing with women's issues and the World Bank.

  • Series 4: Jeannine Guthrie, Sri Lanka Files

    This series consists of subject files associated with Jeannine Guthrie's work as a research associate for Sri Lankan issues and later as NGO Liaison. The files are arranged alphabetically and comprise such issues as military operations, refugees, and women's rights.

  • Series 5: Fraser Wood, China Files

    Fraser Wood worked as a research associate for Human Rights Watch/Asia from 1989 to 1992. This series is arranged alphabetically by subject. The files contain materials associated with groups affected by the aftermath of the Tiananmen Square Massacre such as journalists, political prisoners, and students.

  • Series 6: Mickey Spiegel, China Files

    Mickey Spiegel has been with Human Rights Watch since 1990 with responsibilities for work on China and Tibet. Among the reports she has authored and coauthored are a series on religious freedom in the People's Republic of China, a directory of political prisoners, and profiles of Tibetans in exile. This series is arranged alphabetically by subject.

Using the Collection

Rare Book and Manuscript Library

Restrictions on Access

The records of Human Rights Watch are restricted unless they have been vetted and cleared for use by HRW. Specific restriction status is noted in the finding aid for each folder (open, vetted; restricted until ___; unvetted). If you wish to request boxes from this collection that have not been vetted, please send an email to rbml@columbia.edu detailing the collection, series, box, and folder numbers in which you are interested, as well as a brief description of your research needs. Once Human Rights Watch has reviewed the request, the researcher will be contacted with specific instructions. Please submit requests at least 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.

Terms Governing Use and Reproduction

Single photocopies may be made for research purposes.

Permission to publish, reproduce, exhibit, and create any derivative work, compilation or digitized version based on, or to use for any other purpose than research and photocopying for personal, scholarly and/or other non-commercial purposes, all or part of such materials must be obtained in writing from HRW. Requests should include a detailed description of the proposed publication.

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

3 Records152.5 linear ft. 1st accession accumulation, 1985-97

About the Finding Aid / Processing Information

Columbia University Libraries, Rare Book and Manuscript Library

Processing Information

Papers processed Christopher M. Laico 2008.

Finding Aidw ritten by Christopher M. Laico .

Revision Description

2012-11-26 xml document instance created by Christopher M. Laico

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

2019-12-10 Folder status updated based on December 2019 HRW review. kws

2020-01-03 Folder status updated based on January 2020 HRW review. kws

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"
Aung San Suu Kyi Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Civil rights -- Asia Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Dissenters -- China Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Economic development -- Moral and ethical aspects -- Southeast Asia Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Family policy -- China Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Freedom of expression -- Asia Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Human Rights Watch (Organization) Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Human rights -- China -- 1989- Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Human rights -- India -- Jammu and Kashmir Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Human rights -- Korea (South) Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Human rights -- Philippines Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Human rights -- Singapore Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Insurgency -- Philippines Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Labor -- China Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Malays (Asian people) -- Malaysia -- Sarawak Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Political atrocities -- Timor-Leste Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Political persecution -- China Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Political prisoners -- Indonesia Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Political refugees -- China Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Political refugees -- Vietnam Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Political violence -- Indonesia Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Political violence -- Sri Lanka Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Prisoners -- Civil rights -- Japan Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Prisons -- China Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Prisons -- Japan Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Prostitution -- Thailand Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Protest movements -- China Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Refugees -- Cambodia Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Refugees -- China -- Hong Kong Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Refugees -- Government policy -- China Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Religion and politics -- China Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Riots -- Timor-Leste -- Díli (District) Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Rohingya (Burmese people) Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Tamil (Indic people) -- Civil rights -- Sri Lanka Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Women -- Thailand -- Social conditions Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID

History / Biographical Note

Biographical / Historical

This Record Group contains the records of Human Rights Watch/Asia (AW). Established in 1985, Asia Watch monitors and promotes the observance of internationally recognized human rights norms in Asia. Since its founding, AW has kept refining a three-pronged strategy of documentation, campaigning, and lobbying to expose abuses in the region. By the late 1980s, this strategy came to fruition with regard to China. To illustrate, even before the Tiananmen Square Massacre, AW had been working with Chinese human rights groups to support efforts to record the plight of Chinese political prisoners. In early May 1989, in turn, an AW mission traveled to Beijing in order to speak with pro-democracy demonstrators. These labors were combined with first-hand reports and lobbying campaigns before Congress. Asia Watch China Specialist, Robin Munro, for example, wrote an eyewitness account of the Tiananmen Square Massacre. AW executive staff, in turn, became vocal advocates for sanctions against China on Capitol Hill. Finally, AW set up a branch headquarters in Hong Kong. This office enabled AW to tap into the extensive information-gathering network in Hong Kong. It also facilitated work on behalf of pro-democracy activists who escaped there after the massacre.

Through the 1990s, through their three-pronged model, AW had expanded the number of countries it covered, the issues it addressed and the advocacy techniques it employed in the region. AW, for example, began seeking allies within the NGO and business communities in Europe and Japan in order to bring more direct pressure on human rights offenders in Asia.