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Using the Collection
Note: some material may be restricted or offsite
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Series 1: Aryeh Neier, 1978-1989
Series 2: Cynthia Brown, 1980-1994
Series 3: Guatemala Files, 1966-1990
At a Glance
This Record Group is arranged in 4 series.
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material, internal planning and policy material, declassified government and United Nations documents, published and unpublished human rights reports from individuals and fellow non-governmental organizations (NGOs), press clippings and news releases, and maps.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Materials related to missions contain unpublished information on sources, cases, and the state of affairs in various countries.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 AmW 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 the Americas. 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; and the suppression of political violence.
Using the Collection
Rare Book and Manuscript Library
Conditions Governing 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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
The following boxes were reviewed by HRW in May 2019: 292-294; 300-305; 311-314; 318; 324; 328-329; 331; 333-334. Specific restrictions are noted in the container list. Of these, 312, 313, and 314 are entirely open.
This collection is located off-site. You will need to request this material at least three business days in advance to use the collection in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library reading room.
Conditions Governing Use
Permission from Human Rights Watch required to copy, and/or publish any material.
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.
96.25 linear ft. 1st accession accumulation, 1980-94
Ownership and Custodial History
This material was originally deposited at the University of Colorado at Boulder by Human Rights Watch in the 1990s. The material was deposited with the Rare Book and Manuscript Library in 2006.
About the Finding Aid / Processing Information
Columbia University Libraries, Rare Book and Manuscript Library
Papers processed Christopher M. Laico 2008.
Finding Aid written Christopher M. Laico 2008.
One records carton of items that were marked to be removed are in Butler 801. July 2019
2012-12-21 xml document instance created by Christopher M. Laico
2019-05-20 EAD was imported spring 2019 as part of the ArchivesSpace Phase II migration.
2019-07-10 May 2019 HRW review was incorporated into finding aid
2019-10-31 Folder-level status added. kws
History / Biographical Note
Biographical / Historical
This Record Group contains the records of Human Rights Watch/Americas Watch (AmW). Established in 1981 as an outgrowth of the Helsinki Watch Committee, the AmW division promotes human rights in the Western Hemisphere. It concerns itself particularly with harassed human rights groups in repressive countries. AmW, for example, assists Latin American monitoring organizations in disseminating information about oppressive practices. It also mounts external pressure within countries to ensure human rights protections through sponsored human rights missions and publishes reports on their findings.
The Americas Watch division is funded by private foundations, citizens, and does not accept government funds. As a strictly non-political, non-partisan group, it investigates and attempts to report objectively on human rights conditions. Its policy recommendations, in turn, relate solely to ways in which the United States can assist human rights monitors in countries with poor human rights records.