August 30 – International Day of the Disappeared

August 30thFront Cover is recognized as a day to raise awareness of the crime of enforced disappearance and to remember those who have disappeared in the context of conflict and other violations of human rights.  Resources in our Libraries’ collections document and enable the study of enforced disappearances, and how human rights organizations and individuals have advocated for justice in these situations.

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Drawings used by Amnesty International’s 1988 Disappearances Campaign; published in Así Lo Hemos Vivido– : Detenidos-Desaparecidos. [Santiago, Chile :Vicaría de la Solidaridad-Arzobispado de Santiago, 1983]. Amnesty International of the USA, Inc.: National Office Records, Box 305 and Folder 13; Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Center for Human Rights Documentation & Research, Columbia University Library.

A search of the subject heading, “disappeared persons” in CLIO, limited to our library catalog, brings back over 500 items in our collections. This search sorted by date shows the earliest published items that we acquired on this subject.  This includes Jean Marie Simon’s Guatemala, the Group for Mutual Support, 1984-1985documenting one of the few human rights groups to be established during the civil conflict in that country.  Limiting this search to the format of video allows you to see films and documentaries that address the topic of disappeared persons.

Human Rights Studies Online, a newly acquired database, is another source of film, documents, books and other resources. Another newly acquired resource, Human Rights Documents Online, offers a trove of non-governmental organization publications dating from 1980 to 2013. [Look for another post soon where I’ll dig deeper into these 2 databases.]

The archives held by our Center for Human Rights Documentation & Research are primary sources that document the work of several major human rights organizations. The drawing displayed above was distributed to AI groups to aid in their campaign to raise awareness of disappearances occurring in Chile in the 1970s and 1980s.

Our collecting also focuses on the present.  The Human Rights Web Archive, produced by the CHRDR and the Libraries, systematically collects and preserves human rights-related websites of over 600 organizations, including groups like the Lebanese Center for Human Rights.

Please contact chrdr@columbia.edu for assistance with exploring the human rights collections at Columbia.

 

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