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   Human Rights Watch Records: Helsinki Watch, 1952-2003 [Bulk Dates: 1978-1994].

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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.

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Summary Information

Abstract

This collection contains the records of the United States based human rights organization, Human Rights Watch. Materials include correspondence and e-mail communications, professional and personal field notes, testimonies and interviews, advocacy, policy planning material, and briefing papers.

At a Glance

Bib ID:6062290 View CLIO record
Creator(s):Human Rights Watch/Helsinki (Organization : U.S.)
Title:Human Rights Watch Records: Helsinki Watch, 1952-2003 [Bulk Dates: 1978-1994].
Physical description:271 linear feet (645 document boxes and one flat box).
Language(s):In Albanian, Armenian, Azerbaijani, Bulgarian, Croatian, Czech, English, Finnish, Georgian, German, Greek, Hungarian, Latvian, Lithuanian, Persian Polish, Romanian, Serbian, Slovak, Spanish, Swedish, Turkish, Ukrainian Uzbek
Access: This collection is located off-site. You will need to request this material at least twenty-four (24) hours in advance to use the collection in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library Reading Room. Please consult the Rare Book and Manuscript Library for further information. 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.  More information »

Arrangement

Arrangement

This Record Group is arranged into 11 series:

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Description

Scope and Content

Materials include correspondence and e-mail communications, professional and personal field notes, testimonies and interviews, material on research methodology, 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material, internal planning and policy material, declassified government and United Nations documents, published and unpublished human rights reports from individuals and fellow non-governmental organizations (NGOs), press clippings and news releases, as well as regional maps, posters and audiovisual material. 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 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 human rights events in the past quarter of a century. The material in the Helsinki Watch files is substantive in dissidents and opposition movements in the former Soviet Union and its satellites. The other Watches and thematic divisions contain extensive and detailed files on civil wars and conflicts in El Salvador, Guatemala, Argentina, Chile; on the Cambodian genocide, on the human rights record of Burma, China, North Korea, and Kashmir; on South Africa, Liberia, Nigeria, etc., the democratic transitions in various African countries, and the Rwandan genocide; on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Lebanon, Syria, Libya, Iraq; on the International Justice Program and the campaign for establishing the International Criminal Court; on the international coalition to ban land mines, ending the use of child soldiers; on women's and children's rights, campaigns to promote freedom of expression and academic freedom, and the prison project.

Record Group 7: Helsinki Watch/Europe and Central Asia (ECA), 1952-2003. This Record Group is arranged into 11 series. The Helsinki Watch files are substantive in dissidents and opposition movements in the former Soviet Union and its satellites: the Moscow Helsinki Group, the refusenik and peace movements, Charter 77, Solidarność and others. Extensive files exist on issues related to national minorities, especially the situation of Kurds in Turkey (and neighboring Iraq) and of Turks in Bulgaria. Other topics covered are the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, psychiatric abuses against dissidents and political prisoners, the fall of the Berlin Wall and the revolutions of 1989, the disintegration of the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia, respectively, and the ethnic conflicts and wars in the Balkans. A good part of the documents reveal the fundamental role of HRW not only in establishing the United Nations tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, but also their cooperation in various criminal investigations through mutual exchange of information.

Series I: Jeri Laber Files

This series contains files relating to Jeri Laber’s work as HRW Executive Director from 1979 through 1995. Files are arranged alphabetically and contain correspondence, mission and research files.

Series II: Holly Cartner Files

Series II. Holly Cartner Files, 1952-1995. Series 2 is comprised of Cartner’s files associated with her work as researcher on Romania and other Eastern Europe countries in the period 1990-1995. Cartner became Europe and Central Asia director in 1995. Files contain correspondence, mission and research files, and are arranged alphabetically.

Series III: Cathy Fitzpatrick Files, 1968-1993

During this period, Catherine A. Fitzpatrick worked for Helsinki Watch, where she headed research on the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe. Files contain correspondence, mission and research files, and are arranged alphabetically.

Series IV: Janet Fleischmann Files, 1974-1990

The files contain archival materials related to her work as a Helsinki Watch (HW) and Human Rights Watch (HRW) country researcher for Czechoslovakia, Hungary and Romania. The country files are arranged alphabetically by subject. The files consist of correspondence, manuscripts, memorandums, newspaper clippings, photographs and research reports, and are arranged alphabetically.

Series V: Ted Zang Files, 1978-1990

An HRW researcher and staff member, this series contains correspondence, mission and research files and is arranged alphabetically.

Series VI: Ivana Nizich Files, 1990-1995

An HRW Research Associate between February 1992 and December 1994, she concentrated her efforts on Croatia and the former Yugoslavia. The files consist of correspondence, manuscripts, memorandums, newspaper clippings, photographs and research reports, and are arranged alphabetically.

Series VII: Chris Panico Files, 1979-1992

A researcher for the Europe and Central Asia division of Human Rights Watch files his files are arranged alphabetically and consist of correspondence, manuscripts, memorandums, newspaper clippings, photographs and research reports.

Series VIII: New York Office Files, 1975-1996

The New York office sub-subseries represent country files created by the Helsinki Watch/Human Rights Watch New York City office between 1983 and 1996. These files contain the following countries and regions: Armenia, Azerbaijan, the Baltic States of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhistan, Kyrgzstan, Moldova, Nagorno-Karabakh, Tajikistan, Tartarstan, Ukraine and the U.S.S.R.-Russia. The files consist of correspondence, manuscripts, memorandums, newspaper clippings, photographs and research materials utilized in the development of reports. The country and region files are arranged alphabetically by subject.

Series IX: Washington D.C. Office Files, 1978-1998

The files consist of correspondence, manuscripts, memorandums, newspaper clippings, photographs and research materials utilized in the development of reports. The files are arranged alphabetically by subject.

Series X: International Helsinki Federation for Human Rights Files, 1975-1996

The International Helsinki Federation for Human Rights (IHF) is a self-governing group of non-governmental, not-for-profit organizations that act to protect human rights throughout Europe, North America and Central Asia. The files in this series document the activities of the IHF and its committees. The files consist of correspondence, manuscripts, memorandums, newspaper clippings, photographs and research materials utilized in the development of reports. The files are arranged alphabetically by subject. The IHF closed in 2007.

Series XI: USSR/Independent States Files, 1983-1997

The files consist of correspondence, manuscripts, memorandums, newspaper clippings, photographs and research materials utilized in the development of reports. These country and region files are arranged alphabetically by subject.

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Using the Collection

Offsite

Access Restrictions

 This collection is located off-site. You will need to request this material at least twenty-four (24) hours in advance to use the collection in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library Reading Room. Please consult the Rare Book and Manuscript Library for further information.

      offsite requestMore information and link to off-site request form

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.

Restrictions on Use

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.

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About the Finding Aid / Processing Information

Columbia University Libraries. Rare Book and Manuscript Library; machine readable finding aid created by Columbia University Libraries Digital Library Program Division

Processing Information

Papers processed 2005-2007 Christopher M. Laico, Csaba Szilágyi, Craig P. Savino, Lara J. Nettelfield, Christine Lovelace, and Stephane Hetherington.

Machine readable finding aid generated from MARC-AMC source via XSLT conversion April 3, 2009 Finding aid written in English.
    2009-04-03 File created.
    2009-04-16 xml document instance created by Patrick Lawlor

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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.

Subjects

HeadingCUL Archives:
Portal
CUL Collections:
CLIO
Nat'l / Int'l Archives:
ArchiveGRID
Abkhazia (Georgia)--History--Autonomy and independence movements.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Afghanistan--History--Soviet occupation, 1979-1989.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Armenia (Republic)--History--1988-PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Azerbaijan--Politics and government--1991-PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Baltic States--Foreign relations.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Bulgaria--Ethnic relations.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Bulgaria--Politics and government.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
CSCE Cultural Forum (1985 :--Budapest, Hungary)--lcsh.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Commonwealth of Independent States--Politics and government.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Croatia--Foreign relations--1990-PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Croatia--Politics and government--1990-PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Czechoslovakia--Intellectual life.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Czechoslovakia--Politics and government.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Europe, Eastern--Politics and government--1989-PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Former Yugoslav republics--History.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Georgia (Republic)--Foreign relations--1991-PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Germany (East)--Foreign relations.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Germany (East)--Social conditions.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Human Rights Watch (Organization)PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Human rights advocacy--United States.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Human rights workers.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Hungary--Intellectual life--20th century.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Jews--Migrations--Government policy--Soviet Union.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Kosovo (Republic)--Relations--Albania.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Moldova--Politics and government--1991-PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict, 1988-1994.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Romania--Foreign economic relations--United States.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
South Ossetia (Georgia)PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Soviet Union--Ethnic relations.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Soviet Union--Intellectual life.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Soviet Union--Politics and government--1985-1991.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Soviet Union--Politics and government--1991-1997.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Turkey--Ethnic relations.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Yugoslavia--History--1980-1992.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID

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History / Biographical Note

History

In 1978, under the direction of founder and former chair Robert L. Bernstein, Human Rights Watch (HRW) was established as Helsinki Watch (HW). HW's mission was to monitor the compliance of the former Soviet Union and some other signatories with the human rights provisions of the 1975 Helsinki Final Act.

As the organization has grown, it has formed other watch committees to cover other regions of the world. In 1988, all of the committees were united under one organization to form Human Rights Watch. These watch committees -- now called regional divisions --produce research reports on violations of international human rights norms as set out by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other internationally-accepted human rights norms. These reports are intended to draw international attention to human rights abuses and to put pressure on governments and international organizations to reform. HRW researchers conduct fact-finding missions to investigate suspect situations and generate coverage in local and international media. Issues raised by HRW include social and gender discrimination, torture, military use of children, political corruption, and abuses in criminal justice systems, and violations of humanitarian and international law.

In the ensuing years, besides issuing reports, HRW has also expanded its collaborative lobbying efforts to expose human rights abuses throughout the world. Human Rights Watch, for example, was one of six international NGOs that established the Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers in 1998. In turn, it is also the co-chair of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines, a global coalition of civil society groups that have successfully lobbied to introduce the Ottawa Convention, a treaty that prohibits the use of anti-personnel landmines. Finally, HRW is an original member of the International Freedom of Expression Exchange, a global network of non-governmental organizations that monitor censorship worldwide. Each year, in turn, Human Rights Watch awards grants to writers worldwide who are in financial need and are victims of persecution. These Hellman/Hammett grants are financed by the estate of the playwright Lillian Hellman with funds established in her name and that of her long-time companion, the novelist Dashiell Hammett. In addition to providing financial assistance, the Hellman/Hammett grants attempt to raise awareness of censorship.

Today, HRW remains the largest U.S. based human rights organization “dedicated to protecting the human rights of people around the world.” With more than 150 committed professionals, a growing number of devoted volunteers working in its five regional and almost two dozen thematic divisions and through special projects orchestrated from its New York and Washington D.C. offices, HRW tracks human rights developments in over 70 countries around the world.

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