Rare Book & Manuscript Library
 

Human Rights Watch records : Record Group 5: Americas Watch, 1966-1994, bulk 1980-1994

Summary Information

At a Glance

Call No.: HRW RG 5
Bib ID 8960940 View CLIO record
Creator(s) Human Rights Watch (Organization). Americas Watch ; Valls, Jorge, 1933- ; Radio Martí Program (U.S.). Office of Research & Policy
Title Human Rights Watch records : Record Group 5: Americas Watch, 1966-1994, bulk 1980-1994
Physical Description 96.25 linear feet (77 record cartons)
Language(s) English , Spanish; Castilian .
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.

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.

Arrangement

Arrangement

This Record Group is arranged in 4 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material, internal planning and policy material, declassified government and United Nations documents, published and unpublished human rights reports from individuals and fellow non-governmental organizations (NGOs), press clippings and news releases, and maps.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Materials related to missions contain unpublished information on sources, cases, and the state of affairs in various countries.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 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.

  • Series 1: Aryeh Neier, 1978-1989

    This series documents Executive Director, Aryeh Neier's efforts from 1981 to 1989 to establish Americas Watch (AmW) as a full operating division of Human Rights Watch (HRW). The series is divided into three subseries: chronological correspondence, country, and general files. The correspondence files span 1981 to 1986 and record AmW's founding and initial human rights projects. Chile, El Salvador and Peru comprise the alphabetically arranged country files. Covering the period 1978 through 1984, these files cover such subjects as anti-terrorism efforts, democratic reform initiatives, and the plight of political prisoners and refugees. Arranged alphabetically, the general files comprise mainly AmW fundraising data, press releases, and staff memorandums.

  • Series 2: Cynthia Brown, 1980-1994

    Cynthia Browns initial work as Associate Director for Americas Watch stressed investigative missions to El Salvador, Guatemala and Colombia. In 1983, she inaugurated yearly trips to monitor the human rights situation in Chile. Extending from 1980 to 1992, the alphabetically arranged country files, therefore, emphasize Chile. Other nations include Argentina, Bahamas, Belize, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Puerto Rico, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, Uruguay, and Venezuela. Organized alphabetically and running from 1982 to 1994, the general files predominantly contain such administrative files as inter-office correspondence, memorandums, press releases, reports, and schedules. The alphabetical professional files hold correspondence (1984; 1987-1989) with human rights groups, advocates, and Congressional testimony. Finally, the subject files include labor rights, police targets, the United Nations, U.S. policy, and women's issues.

  • Series 3: Guatemala Files, 1966-1990

    Divided into three alphabetically arranged subseries, this series encompasses general files and the work of two individuals involved in AmW's Guatemala projects. Represented in the first sub series (1966-1988) are the general files. The second subseries (1978-1984) holds Eliecer S. Valencia's Guatemalan refugee project files collected during the research for his volume, "Guatemalan Refugees in Mexico, 1980-1984" (AmW, 1984). Embodied in the third subseries are Frank E. Howard's efforts as a legal consultant (1989-1990) on behalf of AmW handling asylum cases.

  • Series 4: Mary Jane Camejo, 1971-1994

    The series is divided into two alphabetically arranged subseries of country and general files. Mary Jane Camejo was an AmW Research Associate, who focused on Latin American politics specifically in Cuba, the Dominican Republic and Haiti. The country files reflect this specialization with the largest group of material associated with these three nations. The files document the plight of Cuban artists, dissidents and political refugees, and Haitian sugar cane labors. Other represented countries include Antigua, Bahamas, Belize, Costa Rica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, Paraguay, Peru, Puerto Rico, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, and Uruguay. The general files consist primarily of human rights law and policy reports.

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 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.

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.

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

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

Processing Information

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

Revision Description

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

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"
Argentine Forensic Anthropology Team Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Bolivia -- Politics and government -- 1982-2006 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Catholic Church. Archdiocese of Santiago (Chile). Vicaría de la Solidaridad Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Chile -- Foreign relations -- United States Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Chile -- Politics and government -- 1973- Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Communism -- Cuba Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Cuba -- Intellectual life -- 20th century Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Cuba -- Politics and government -- 1959-1990 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Dissenters -- Cuba Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Dominican Republic -- Foreign relations -- United States Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Forced labor -- Dominican Republic Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Government, Resistance to -- Cuba Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Haiti -- Foreign relations -- United States Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Haiti -- Politics and government -- 1986- Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Haiti -- Social conditions Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Human rights -- Chile Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Human rights -- Cuba Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Human rights workers -- Peru Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Land reform -- El Salvador Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Law reform -- Cuba Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Mariel Boatlift, 1980 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Migrant labor -- Dominican Republic Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Oakdale Federal Alien Detention Center (Oakdale, La.) -- History Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Paraguay -- Foreign relations -- United States Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Paraguay -- Politics and government -- 1989- Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Peace -- Government policy -- Central America Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Political prisoners -- Cuba Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Politics and literature -- Cuba Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Press -- Chile -- History -- 20th century Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Prisoners -- Cuba Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Refugees -- Haiti Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Sugar workers -- Dominican Republic Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Trials (Political crimes and offenses) -- Paraguay Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Violence -- Colombia -- History -- 20th century Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID

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.