Tag Archives: Human rights

Online Resource: American Jewish Joint Distribution Council Archives

The JDC Archives holds the institutional records of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee since its founding in 1914. Given the nature of JDC’s work and the role it has played over more than a century of activity, these collections are among the most significant in the world for the study of modern Jewish history and immigration.

The online collections database now has more than 2.6 million pages of documents available. These are fully searchable, with pdfs of the individual documents, and open to scholars, students, and the general public at http://search.archives.jdc.org. Online finding aids for the collections are available at http://archives.jdc.org/explore-the-archives/using-the-archives.html.

This database also includes more than 67,000 digitized photographs that document JDC’s activity around the world throughout the twentieth century, not only in Europe and Israel but also in the Middle East and North Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, and Asia.

The Names Index holds more than 500,000 names and is a major source of information for genealogists and family historians. Search results include links to the digitized source documents—index cards, lists, remittances, and others—from which the names were drawn.

The JDC Archives website at http://archives.jdc.org includes curated exhibits, photo galleries, topic guides for educators, and an interactive timeline of JDC history. You will also find guidance on how to search the collections, including video tutorials.

(Image: Jews from the Bergen-Belsen Concentration camp with a memorial to those who died there)

#HumanRightsDay2015

December 10th is recognized as International Human Rights Day, commemorating the day in 1948 when the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was adopted by the United Nations.  This summer I visited the Franklin Delano Roosevelt home and Presidential Library in Hyde Park, NY for the first time.  A highlight of the visit was an exhibit on Eleanor Roosevelt’s important role in developing the UDHR, and viewing her hand-annotated draft of the declaration.

Eleanor Roosevelt's draft of the UDHR, FDR Library and Archives.

Eleanor Roosevelt’s draft of the UDHR, FDR Library and Archives.

As the modern human rights movement matures, endures and evolves, it’s important to preserve and record its history.  The Center for Human Rights Documentation & Research at Columbia Libraries carries out that mission, as we collect and make available a variety of important sources related to human rights activism and advocacy.  Some highlights of both our unique primary source collections, and other general research resources:

Contact chrdr@columbia.edu for more information, and follow us @HRDocumentation

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.

 

British records on “Apartheid South Africa” boosts primary resources on South Africa

Columbia faculty and students can now access the full text of digitized selected documents from the British National Archives on South Africa during the “apartheid” era.  The “Archives Direct” collection on South Africa from Adam Matthew includes files from the Foreign, Colonial, Dominion and Foreign and Commonwealth Offices spanning the period 1948 to 1980; divided into three sections: 1948-1966, 1967-1975, and 1976-1980.  For more details, see:  Nature and scope of the collection.

This new digital resource complements other “primary resource” materials relating to 20th century South Africa and the southern Africa region available to researchers at Columbia, including: Aluka–The Struggle for Liberation in Southern Africa South African Government Gazettes–1910-1993 and 1994 to the Present ; Digital National Security Archive: South Africa: The Making of U.S. Policy, 1962-1989 ; The Gay J. MacDougall South Africa and Namibia Papers ; and, The Papers of The Committee for Health in Southern Africa.

For earlier historical periods, researchers at Columbia can search other “online” sources in Confidential Print: Africa, 1834-1966 ; Nineteenth Century Collections: Europe and Africa ; and, World Newspaper Archive–African newspapers before 1923.

A “subject” search in CLIO, using the terms “South Africa Sources”, will provide a greater sense of the “primary resource” offerings on South Africa at Columbia in print, microform, and electronic formats.

Human Rights 365

110169028 crop December 10th is Human Rights Day, first designated by the United Nations in 1950 to bring attention to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the principles it espoused. This year’s theme emphasizes that every day is human rights day. I think it’s fair to say that every day is human rights day within the Columbia Libraries; our collections and initiatives to preserve and make available resources related to human rights are extensive and involve continuous effort and commitment. Some highlights of our collections:

And in recognition of today’s release of Brazil’s Truth Commission Report:

Contact chrdr@columbia.edu  to learn more about human rights resources in the Libraries. Follow us on Twitter @HRdocumentation And follow the Human Rights day conversation #Rights365.

Human Rights Day 2013

On December 10th, 1948 the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Two years later the UN proclaimed December 10th as Human Rights Day. This day is commemorated throughout the world and calls attention to the ongoing work of promoting and protecting human rights. Columbia University Libraries has made a significant investment in supporting teaching, learning, and research related to human rights and related advocacy movements. Our Center for Human Rights Documentation & Research acquires unique primary resources, including the archives of several major human rights organizations. We have a network of subject specialist librarians who build excellent general collections of resources from around the world in many languages.

Some highlights our our collections: Human Rights organizational archives,  including the records of Human Rights Watch , Amnesty International USA, the Committee to Protect Journalists, and the Committee for Health in Southern Africa.

 

Notable individuals’ papers

  • Gay J. McDougall South Africa and Namibia Papers, which includes records of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law Southern Africa Project.  This collection documents Ms. McDougall’s work in coordinating the defense of political prisoners, and her work on South Africa’s Independent Electoral Commission.  This collection is being processed.  Please check our Center’s website for updates on the availability of the collection for research.
  • Telford Taylor Papers, 1918-1998.  Taylor was a prominent lawyer who served as Counsel  for the Prosecution at the International and Nuremberg Military Tribunals.

Digital Collections:

Guatemala, Human Rights, and the Documentary Trail

Cover of Memory of Silence b Daniel RothenbergToday marks the opening of the trial of Efraín Ríos Montt, former Guatemalan army general and dictator, who is being charged with genocide and crimes against humanity.   Guatemala's truth commission report, issued in 1999, put the death toll at 200,000 during the course of an almost 40-year civil war. In a press release, Navi Pillay, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, stated   "This is the first time, anywhere in the world, that a former head of State is being put on trial for genocide by a national tribunal.”  The prosecution will turn to an extensive body of documentation, including military records, government documents, and the testimony of 142 witnesses in making its case. It is the exception and not the rule to see so much documentation survive a conflict.

Columbia Libraries and its Center for Human Rights Documentation & Research (CHRDR) provide a gateway to learning about and researching this conflict and the transitional justice process now unfolding.  Some recommended resources:

Recommended subject searches in our library catalog, CLIO Beta:

Beyond Columbia Libraries:

Follow the trial which is projected to last into the summer:
Twitter:  #RiosMontt, #GenocideGT and @NISGUA_Guate  @PzPenVivo (Plaza Pública)  and @ReedBrody (HRW)