Posts Tagged human rights

SwissPeace Joint Venture on Archives Dealing with the Past

The Swiss Peace Foundation (or simply SwissPeace) recently began a new project called Archives and Dealing with the Past.  It is a joint venture between the foundation, the Swiss Federal Archives, and the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs.  The project mandate is to offer a hub between archivists/documentalists and human rights activists dealing with the past.   Members of the ICA Human Rights Working Group serve on their Advisory Board.  Consequently, one aim of the project is to foster knowledge exchange between the two professional communities (of archivists and activists) and engage in knowledge management activities.  In fact, SwissPeace reached out to the ICA HRWG Directory Project last month and discussions to converge on parallel projects are taking place.


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Reminder: Archiving Human Rights for Advocacy, Justice & Memory

Join WITNESS and the New Tactics community for an online dialogue on Archiving Human Rights for Advocacy, Justice and Memory from May 16 to 22, 2012. Archiving and preservation have long taken a backseat to more urgent aspects of human rights documentation and advocacy, but that is beginning to change. Human rights archives are increasingly playing a pivotal role in advocacy, restorative justice, historical memory, and struggles against impunity. At the same time, however, archivists and activists alike are grappling with the mounting challenges posed by the proliferation of digital documentation. How can we ensure that the critical documentation created today will be preserved and accessible in the future?

In this dialogue, we will explore the tactics and methods used by archivists to preserve human rights information. Are you new to this topic? This is an opportunity for you to learn about the role of archiving in human rights work and how to develop your own archiving strategy. Are you knowledgeable on this topic? This is an opportunity for you to share your experiences with peers, learn about new tactics, and meet others working in this field.

Join us on May 16 to meet others interested in this topic, learn new ideas, and share
your experiences!

How can you participate?
This online dialogue is open to anyone interested in sharing their experiences and ideas
on this topic!

Join dialogue

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Archivists without Borders Opens US Chapter

ImageAs an advocate for archives activities in guaranteeing the recognition of human rights, AW is excited to spread news regarding the expansion of Archiveros sin Fronteras (AsF).  As seen in this message posted by ArchivesNext, this is of particular interest to American archivists:

Dear fellow archivist,

It is with great excitement that we announce the release of the first half of the proposal to form a U.S. Chapter of Archivists without Borders. This portion of the proposal, which includes Background and Mission Statement, will be open for comment until May 31, 2012. You can find the full text to these sections on our website: To contribute your comments on these two sections, please use the comments feature on our website. We are currently working with Archives without Borders International to draft the remainder of the proposal. Please be patient as we work diligently to push these additional sections out for your input.

As members of the archival community who have expressed interest in the vision Archivists without Borders promotes, your contribution is vital. The comments you make will shape the direction of this organization. We welcome your ideas for the organization’s potential, criticisms of the wording, alerts to unanticipated implications, and questions about how we currently envision this chapter functioning.

We are also pleased to announce that you can now follow AwB-US on Twitter (@AWB_US) and on Facebook:

Please let us know if you have any questions.

Best regards,

AWB-US Core Working Group

Joel Blanco-Rivera
Erin Faulder
Jasmine Jones
Mario H. Ramirez
Amanda Strauss
Adam Zimmerli

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Bringing Awareness of Archives & Human Rights to China

Simon Chu, a Government Archivist in China and former Director of the Government Records Service, has been trying to bring archives legislation to Hong Kong to empower the records service.  As a member of the Archives Action Group, Chu has long advocated for this cause.  In an article he’s written for Human Rights in China, he cites the Guatemala case of the 2005 discovery of the Secret Police Archive as an example of the function of creating and managing records to keep archives.  Currently the records service is equipped with guidelines on how public servants are to manage their records.  Without appropriate legislation, records officers and archivists have no authority to enforce the proper management of records.  This, Chu states, has lead to the arbitrary destruction of “six million pieces of records”.

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Politics of Memory Conference on Guatemalan National Police Archive


On December 1-2, the University of Texas at Austin (UT) hosted a conference as part of its collaboration with the Historical Archive of the National Police of Guatemala, or the Archivo Histórico de la Policía Nacional (AHPN). The interdisciplinary conference marked the unveiling of a UT-hosted digital archive that will serve as an on-line digital repository for millions of documents from the Historical Archive of the National Police in Guatemala. The conference considered how use of the Archive has helped to deepen understanding of Guatemala’s history, and to advance human rights, both crucial to strengthening Guatemala’s embattled democracy…

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ICA Human Rights Archives Directory

For some years now, the ICA Human Rights Working Group (HRWG) has been trying to establish a directory of human rights archives from around the globe.  This summer, I began volunteering with the ICA HRWG as project co-director on their directory project.  In case you are not aware, the directory project aims to build on-line directory of (1) archives that identify themselves as human rights archives and (2) archives that are part of a human rights organization and are open to the public.

In collaboration with the other project director, the indispensable Tessa Fallon, Web Collection Curator at Columbia University Libraries, and under the guidance of ICA HRWG chair and experienced American archivist, Trudy Huskamp Peterson, we have compiled data on such organizations and institutions based on the ISDIAH standard.  This past week, Tessa has built a beta version of the online platform from which our compiled data can be shared and disseminated.  Yesterday, on October 25, Trudy presented the site to members of the working group and the ICA during the annual CITRA 2011 conference in Toledo, Spain.

We invite you to view this site and welcome any suggestions or comments you may want to share with the project staff through the site.  If you know of an organization/archives that should be included in the directory or if you feel that your organization’s archives belongs in this group, please do not hesitate to contact us.  You may also contact me through this blog regarding the project or the project’s new web platform.

Go to ICA HRWG directory project site

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Archives After Conflict in Guatemala, Sierra Leone and South Africa – A Wilson Center Video

Trudy Huskamp Peterson at the Wilson CenterRenowned archivist, Trudy Huskamp Peterson, was invited to the Wilson Center earlier this year to speak about her last publication with the center, Final Acts.  As the Chair of the ICA Human Rights Working Group, former President of the Society of American Archivist, and recipient of the French Order of Arts & Letters Award, Trudy is the authority on archival issues in human rights.

The Wilson Center ON DEMAND posted a video of Trudy’s appearance.  In it Trudy filters her expansive experiences in constructing, examining and improving archives all over the world with post-conflict trauma and regime change, largely related to cases in Egypt where destruction of archives has definitely occurred.  Trudy readily admits she is not so optimistic about reconciliation but believes in transformation and institutional reform.  She shares her views on the involvement and sometimes ostensible role of state archives in protecting violations of human rights and humanitarian law.  Trudy also discusses the different bodies of justice and courts which are currently supported by the work of archives worldwide.

Watch video

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