Category Archives: Human Rights Archive

Pamela Merchant

“Human Rights, Truth Telling, and Justice” Symposium

Date: Friday November 14th, 2014
Time: 9:00am-4:00pm
Location: Smith Warehouse, Bay 4, Franklin Garage

The Human Rights Archive is co-sponsoring a symposium that will focus on truth telling and justice in the context of human rights. The exciting list of speakers includes representatives from two of the Archive’s partners:

Eduardo GonzalezEduardo González is Director of the International Center for Transitional Justice’s (ICTJ) Truth and Memory Program, which provides advice to countries on truth commissions, declassification of archives, memorialization activities, museums, and other instruments. He has provided technical and strategic support to truth-seeking initiatives in places as diverse as East Timor, Morocco, Liberia, Canada, and the Western Balkans. Before joining ICTJ, he helped organize and carry out the Peruvian Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Previously, he worked as an advocate for the establishment of the International Criminal Court. The historical records of ICTJ are also part of the Human Rights Archive in the Rubenstein Library.

Pamela MerchantPamela Merchant is the Executive Director of the Center for Justice and Accountability (CJA), and an attorney with 25 years of experience in the conduct and management of complex state and federal litigation. She joined CJA in October 2005 and has overseen a period of significant growth – both programmatically and financially. Under her leadership, CJA has grown from an organization devoted solely to human rights litigation in the U.S. to one that also engages in human rights litigation in foreign jurisdictions, such as Spain and Cambodia. Ms. Merchant has testified before Congress on accountability for human rights abusers and other human rights issues and received degrees from Georgetown University and Boston College School of Law. Ms. Merchant will explore changes in the field over the past 30 years with a particular focus on the resilience of survivors and their communities and the critical role they play in building high impact human rights cases.

All sessions are open to the public. For a free lunch, please RSVP to emily.stewart@duke.edu by Thursday November 13th.

Schedule

9:00 am- Coffee and Pastries
9:30-10:30 am- Andrea Petö, “Revised and Revisionist Histories in Eastern Europe” (followed by Q & A)
10:30-11:30 am- Kimberly Theidon, “Incarnations: Legacies of Violence in Peru” (followed by Q & A)
11:45-1:00 pm- Lunch
1:00-2:00 pm- Pamela Merchant, “Truth telling, Human Rights Litigation and Resilience” (followed by Q & A)
2:00-3:00 pm- Eduardo Gonzalez Cueva, “Truth Orthodoxies: The Truth Commission Model, 30 Years after Argentina” (followed by Q & A)
3:00-4:00 pm- Roundtable discussion

Sponsored by The Human Rights Archive at the Rubenstein Library, the Duke Human Rights Center at FHI the Trent Memorial Foundation. Cosponsored by the Center for Latin American Studies, Duke History Department, and Duke Cultural Anthropology.

For further information contact Patrick Stawski, Duke University patrick.stawski@duke.edu 919-660-5823.

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Rights! Camera! Action! presents “Wasteland”

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Rights!Camera!Action! Presents “Wasteland” (2010)
Director: Lucy Walker Producers: Angus Aynsley and Hank Levine
Full Frame Audience Award 2010
Total running time: 95:00

Artist Vik Muniz, known for painting with nontraditional materials, returned to his native Brazil to portray workers in one of the world’s largest garbage dumps, Jardim Gramacho, on the outskirts of Rio de Janeiro. He collaborated with these “catadores”–self-designated scavengers of recyclable materials–to create portraits of them made entirely of garbage, returning the profits from their sale to his subjects. Over three years, the filmmakers followed Muniz and this eclectic band of catadores, revealing both the dignity and despair of their lives, in a multivalent collaborative work engaging with issues of artistic process, social justice, responsibility to one’s subjects, class mobility, activism, and beauty. In English and Portuguese with English subtitles.

There will be a reception at 6:30 p.m. and the screening will begin at 7 p.m. A panel discussion with Professor Pedro Lasch follows the screening.

Date: Thursday October 30th, 2014
Time: 6:30pm-8:30pm
Location: Smith Warehouse, Bay 4, Franklin Garage

Sponsors: The Duke Human Rights Center@ FHI, the Human Rights Archive, and the Archive of Documentary Arts and Screen/Society. Co-sponsored by the Global Brazil Humanities Lab.

For further information contact Patrick Stawski, Duke University patrick.stawski@duke.edu 919-660-5823.

Logo for the National Front for Change and Democracy

Defending Haitian Rights: A Transnational Challenge

The National Coalition for Haitian Rights (NCHR) papers documents this NGO’s advocacy for human rights in Haiti and for Haitian refugees in the United States. NCHR has conducted its mission reaching out to congressmen and international organizations to influence policy, using its connections and credibility to assist Haitians, whether in their individual immigration issues or as this recent discovery notes, to flee persecution in Haiti and reach safety.

 

Let’s start with a little bit of context. In 1992 Haiti democratically elected its first president ever, Jean-Bertrand Aristide, who was subsequently forced out of the country for about 6 months. A military regime came immediately into power. Human rights violations became more prevalent, particularly toward supporters of former President Aristide.

 

Logo for the National Front for Change and Democracy
Logo for the National Front for Change and Democracy of Haiti, found in the National Coalition for Haitian Rights Records

During this tumultuous period, three Haitian members of the Aristide’s political party FNCD (National Front for Change and Democracy) [whose names will be withheld for their protection], decided that, for safety reasons, they had no other option than to flee Haiti. They arrived in Guantanamo, Cuba which at that time was used as an immigration transit camp to assess the validity of asylum claims made by Haitians. The asylum process required an initial interview in Guantanamo that would assess whether an immigrant had a credible fear of persecution, and then a second interview in Miami that would assess whether this fear was well-grounded. The screening process was tough, as it is estimated that only 2% of Haitian applicants were granted asylum between 1980 and 1992.

 

It is in Guantanamo that the three Haitians first came in contact with NCHR. Living conditions at the camp were difficult, and several reports documented humiliating treatments, separation of families or refusal of medical care. As the founding members of the Association of Haitian Political Refugees, the three Haitians asked NCHR to witness and then advocate for better treatment of Haitian refugees inside Guantanamo’s camps. The three Haitians successfully passed the first step of the asylum process. However, accounts of mistreatment during the second interview in Miami, especially directed towards members of the Association of Haitian Political Refugees, made them refuse to submit to the second interview. Additionally, the omnipresence of the US military in the camps made many Haitians nervous about telling their stories to immigration officials.

 

Having abandoned the asylum process mid-way, the three Haitians were sent back to Haiti. Beatings by the police on their day of arrival confirmed their fears of political persecution. They decided to go into hiding and attempt to leave Haiti one way or another. They were unable to apply for asylum from within Haiti, and the American embassy was not a sanctuary. The three Haitians called NCHR for help.

 

NCHR’s strategy was first to get them into the Dominican Republic,

Logo for Radio Enriquillo, a station in the Dominican Republic
Logo for Radio Enriquillo, a station in the Dominican Republic

where the United Nations had set up a refugee camp, and then try to obtain permanent residency in the United States, Canada or another Caribbean nation. In a parallel to the American abolitionist Underground Railroad, NCHR resorted to Haiti’s own underground railroad dedicated to helping persecuted Haitians cross the border and enter the Dominican Republic. The underground railroad was managed by a priest on the Haitian side, and by a radio station on the Dominican side.

 

By means of the underground railroad the three Haitians arrived safely in the Dominican Republic. They were greeted by a team of lawyers, enlisted by NCHR to build their asylum case; further complicated by the three being HIV positive at a time when both the United States and Canada had a practice of rejecting asylum claims of HIV positive individuals unless a waiver was obtained.

 

That is the last update in the archives about the three Haitians. We do not know how significant the underground railroad was, as so far we haven’t found any other account of its use in NCHR’s archives. We also do not know whether their asylum claims have been successful, or whether they managed to get permanent residency in the Dominican Republic. Nevertheless, we have been able to reconstruct this story using a variety of documents present in NCHR archives: letters of the three Haitians to NCHR written in Haitian Creole, communication between NCHR’s Haiti and New-York teams in English, status reports coming from the underground railroad in Spanish, interview transcripts in French. This diversity illustrates the fact that the issue of Haitian rights encompasses much more than just the Haitian territory: the flow of refugees coming to the Dominican Republic and to the United States has made the protection of Haitian rights a multinational challenge.

Post contributed by Marie Veyrier, student assistant in Technical Services

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@rubensteinlib Joins Twitter!

Our first tweet!
Our first tweet!

Dearest readers, do you ever feel that there’s not enough Rubenstein Library in your social media day? True, we’re on Facebook, and we have this wonderful blog, and many of our collecting centers also have extensive social media presences (check out the list in the right-hand column) . . . but what if you could follow our every rare-book-and-manuscript action on Twitter?

Well, do we have good news for you! We’ve joined the twitterverse! Come follow us @rubensteinlib, let us know about your research projects and your latest special collections discoveries, and get a behind-the-scenes look at how we spend our working days (and sometimes our non-working days).

See you in 140 characters or less!

Jean Dominique and Michèle Montas in the Radio Haiti newsroom.

Rubenstein Library Acquires Radio Haiti Archives

Jean Dominique and Michèle Montas in the Radio Haiti newsroom.
Jean Dominique and Michèle Montas celebrating the anniversary of the station in the Radio Haiti newsroom, 1990. From the Radio Haiti Records.

The Human Rights Archive at Duke University’s Rubenstein Library and the estate of broadcaster Jean Dominique have announced a partnership to preserve the broadcast archives of the journalist’s iconic Radio Haiti station.  From the 1960s to 2002, Radio Haiti was that country’s first independent radio station, promoting democratic freedoms, speaking out against human rights abuses, and celebrating Haitian life and culture. The station’s archive includes approximately 2,500 audio recordings of programs, as well as 28 boxes of paper records. Recordings include daily coverage of events, cultural programs, interviews on public affairs, political analysis, and roundtable discussions on different aspects of Haiti’s recent history.

“The Radio Haiti collection is an incredibly important resource for understanding the recent history of Haiti,” said Laurent Dubois, Marcello Lotti Professor of Romance Studies and History at Duke. “Because the station broadcast news and reportage largely in Creole and extensively covered events both in Port-au-Prince and the rural areas of Haiti, the collection gives us unequalled access to an understanding of one of the most important grassroots democratic movements in recent history: the movement that overthrew the Duvalier dictatorship in 1986.”

The Radio Haiti archives were donated to the Rubenstein Library by Michèle Montas, station co-anchor and widow of Jean Dominique. Dominique had an unquenchable passion for Haiti and its people, and his quest for truth and justice may have led to his assassination in 2000.

According to Montas the archives “capture a time and place in which journalists and broadcast journalism played a major role in redefining a country and reaching a people. Beyond Haiti, they bear witness to the turbulent transition from a dictatorship to a functioning democracy. ”

Montas stressed that the archives matter today because they touch on and track issues that remain of paramount importance in Haitian society. “By saving these archives and making them once more accessible to large audiences, Duke and the Rubenstein Library are playing a crucial role in advancing the dialogue about Haiti and its future.”

On April 3, Montas will be at Duke to discuss the history of Radio Haiti and its archive. Archivists from the Rubenstein Library will also share some of the challenges of preserving such a large audio collection and discuss the importance this archive has for the broader Haitian community and the human rights movement.  Those interested in learning more about preserving Radio Haiti can visit Duke Library’s Youtube channel.  The event is free and open to the public and will be held at 12 p.m. in the Forum for Scholars and Publics, Old Chemistry Building Room 011, on Duke’s West Campus. Lunch will be provided.

The Radio Haiti archives join other recent acquisitions by the Rubenstein Library documenting the history of Haiti, including the records of the National Coalition for Haitian Rights, the Mark Danner Papers, and a scribal copy of the Haitian Declaration of Independence dating from 1804.

The Radio Haiti archives will open for research after conservation review and archival processing are complete. For more information, contact Patrick Stawski, Human Rights Archivist.

Moldy tape from Radio Haiti Records

Preserving Radio Haiti

RadioHaiti_blog_photo

The Radio Haiti Records are the fruit of the work of Haitian dissident and “agronomist” Jean Dominique, and chronicle the station’s role in fighting for the people of Haiti.  Jean Dominique was assassinated on April 3, 2000.  His widow and Radio Haiti partner, former UN Spokesperson Michele Montas, brought the Radio Haiti Records to the Rubenstein Library last year, and while it has its challenges – its primary language is Haitian Kreyol and its 3,420 analog tape recordings have spent the better of their lives in a mold-inducing tropical climate – it is that rare collection where value (historical, cultural, human) outweighs almost any conceivable obstacle to making it accessible.

To begin the process of digitizing the recordings, as a first step to transcription and translation, we have created a small pilot project that tests our capabilities and captures the kinds of numbers we need to evaluate the costs associated with preserving Radio Haiti in the long term.  We made the video below to demonstrate some of the basic considerations in approaching the preservation of this important collection.  For more information, check out the Preservation Underground blog, where Head of Conservation Beth Doyle discusses the process we used to clean the mold off the tapes.

Post contributed by Craig Breaden, Audiovisual Archivist

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Rights!Camera!Action!: The Devil Came on Horseback

the_devil_came_on_horsebackWhen: Thursday, March 20th, 7:00pm
Location: FHI Garage, Bay 4, Smith Warehouse
Free and open to the public.
The Devil Came on Horseback, 2007 (TRT: 87 minutes)
Directors: Ricki Stern and Annie Sundberg; Full Frame/Working Films Award and the Seeds of War 2007

An up-close and uncompromising look at the crisis in Darfur, this film exposes the ongoing tragedy in Sudan as seen through the eyes of one American witness, former U.S. Marine Captain Brian Steidle, an official military observer. Armed with just a camera, paper and pen, but with access far beyond that of a journalist, Steidle’s photographs and testimony reveal a genocide that had by 2007 claimed over 400,000 lives. The film presents the historical and economic basis for the Sudanese government’s support and encouragement of the atrocities, alongside UN and US debates on the definition of “genocide,” as millions of people suffer. In Arabic and English with English subtitles. A panel discussion follows the screening.

Contact: Patrick Stawski, Duke University Libraries, 919-660-5823, patrick.stawski@duke.edu

enemiesofthepeople

Rights!Camera!Action! presents “Enemies of the People”

Join R!C!A! for a screening of Enemies of the People, 2009 (TRT: 94 minutes)

When: Thursday, January 23, 7:00pm
Location: FHI Garage, Bay 4, Smith Warehouse
Free and open to the public.

enemiesofthepeopleCambodian investigative reporter Thet Sambath exposes the reasons for the 1975-1979 Khmer Rouge genocide in which almost two million people were executed. Thet conducted interviews throughout the countryside with men who actually carried out the killings. Courageously, they tell the truth and show where the bodies are buried. But many still do not understand why they were ordered to kill. A crucial piece in Cambodia’s national process of reconciliation, these testimonies trace the transformation of abstract political principles into mass murder. In English and Cambodian, with English subtitles.

Directors: Rob Lemkin and Thet Sambath

Awards: Anne Dellinger Grand Jury Award 2010 and Charles E. Guggenheim Emerging Filmmaker Award 2010

Directions & parking information.

Contact: Patrick Stawski, Duke University Libraries: 919-660-5823 or patrick.stawski [at] duke.edu

the-big-truck-that-went-by-how-the-world-came-to-save-haiti-and-left-behind-a-disaster

Reading by Jonathan Katz, 2013 WOLA-Duke Human Rights Book Award Winner

the-big-truck-that-went-by-how-the-world-came-to-save-haiti-and-left-behind-a-disasterDate: November 6, 2013
Time: 5:00 p.m.
Location: FHI Garage at the Smith Warehouse, Bay 4
Contact: Patrick Stawski, 919-660-5823 or patrick.stawski@duke.edu

The Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA) and Duke University have named Jonathan Katz’s book The Big Truck that Went by: How the World Came to Save Haiti and Left Behind a Disaster (Palgrave Macmillan, 2013) as the winner of the 2013 WOLA-Duke Human Rights Book Award.

On November 6 at 5:00pm, Katz will be in Durham, North Carolina to do a reading of his book at the FHI Garage at the Smith Warehouse, Bay 4. An award presentation is planned for March 2014 in Washington, DC.

Katz, who currently lives in Durham, NC,  was a correspondent for the Associated Press on January 12, 2010, when the deadliest earthquake ever recorded in the Western Hemisphere struck the island nation of Haiti. The Big Truck that Went By recounts Katz personal experience when the earthquake hit, and—drawing on his groundbreaking reporting during the period that followed—traces the relief response that poured from the international community and where those efforts went tremendously wrong.

Award judge Roger Atwood states that “Katz’s book brings together everything a winner of this award should have: brave and groundbreaking research, lucid writing, freshness in both form and content, and (best of all) genuine policy applications.”

Describing the book, Dr. Kathryn Sikkink—a member of the 2013 judging panel and winner of the 2011 WOLA-Duke Human Rights Book Award—says that “Katz has written a gripping, well-written book, full of moving stories of the people of Haiti and the tragedies and triumphs of their life during the adversity of the earthquake and the cholera epidemic, and vivid cameos of the very mixed bag of foreigners who seemed compelled to try to make things better there.”

According to Leonor Blum, the chair of this year’s award judging panel and emerita professor of history and political science at Notre Dame of Maryland University, explains that “[Katz’s] easy style, his dramatic presentation of  Haiti’s devastating earthquake, his deep understanding of Haiti and its problems, his willingness to criticize Haiti’s governments as well as the international governmental and non-governmental community, all make The Big Truck that Went By worthy of the WOLA/Duke prize.”

According to judge Holly Ackerman, Librarian for Latin America and Iberia at Duke University Libraries, “The book is a crucial case study of what is wrong with current NGO process and international donor councils. It offers lessons on what is happening with aid/investment but, most important, it unplugs myths for the general public who sent their dollars to the Red Cross and similar organizations at the time of the quake and naturally ask, “Why is Haiti not progressing despite so much aid?”

The judges also listed an honorable mention for Kimberly Theidon’s Intimate Enemies: Violence and Reconciliation in Peru.

About the Award:

Started in 2008, the WOLA-Duke Human Rights Book Award is a joint venture of Duke University and WOLA, a leading advocacy organization based in Washington, DC. The award honors the best current, non-fiction book published in English on human rights, democracy, and social justice in contemporary Latin America. The books are evaluated by a panel of expert judges drawn from academia, journalism, and public policy circles. The 2013 judging panel included:

Holly Ackerman, Librarian for Latin America and Iberia, Duke University
Roger Atwood, Journalist, Author, and Former Communications Director, WOLA
Leonor Blum, WOLA Board Member and Emerita Associate Professor, History and Political Science, Notre Dame of Maryland University
Robin Kirk, Faculty Co-Chair, Duke Human Rights Center at the Franklin Humanities Institute, Duke University
Kathryn Sikkink, Professor of Political Science at the University of Minnesota

Previous WOLA-Duke Human Rights Book Award recipients include: Hector Abad for Oblivion: A Memoir in 2012; Katherine Sikkink for The Justice Cascade in 2011; Victoria Bruce and Karin Hayes, with Jorge Enrique Botero for Hostage Nation in 2010; Ambassador Heraldo Muñoz for The Dictator’s Shadow: Life Under Augusto Pinochet in 2009; and Francisco Goldman for The Art of Political Murder: Who Killed the Bishop? in 2008.

Contact:

Kelly McLaughlin, WOLA
202-797-2171
kmclaughlin@wola.org

Patrick Stawski, Duke University Libraries
919-660-5823
patrick.stawski@duke.edu

undocumented-web

Rights! Camera! Action!: The Undocumented (Director’s Cut)

Date: Tuesday, October 8, 2013
Time: 7:00 p.m.
Location: Full Frame Theater on the American Tobacco Campus (directions & parking information)
Contact: Patrick Stawski, patrick.stawski(at)duke.edu

Marcos Hernandez lives and works in Chicago. He came to the United States from Mexico, after a life-threatening border crossing through the Sonora Desert in southern Arizona. Each month, he sends money to his mother in Mexico City to buy medicine for his brother, Gustavo, who needs a kidney transplant. The Undocumented, by acclaimed filmmaker Marco Williams, is Marcos’s story—as well as the story of countless other migrants.

Chronicling Arizona’s deadliest summer months, award-winning documentary and fiction film director Marco Williams (Banished, Two Towns of Jasper, In Search of Our Fathers) weaves Marcos’s search with the efforts of humanitarians and Border Patrol agents who are fighting to prevent migrant deaths, the medical investigators and Mexican Consulate workers who are trying to identify dead border crossers, and Mexican families who are struggling to accept the loss of a loved one.

Poster for Screening of The Undocumented

In true cinéma vérité style, The Undocumented (91:00 TRT; 2013 Full Frame Honorable Mention for Kathleen Bryan Edwards Award for Human Rights) reveals the ongoing impact of immigration laws and economic policies on the very people who continue to be affected by them. By going beyond politics, the film also tells a story that is deeply personal.

The screening, which is free and open to the public, will be followed by a panel discussion featuring director Marco Williams and Duke University professor Charlie Thompson.

Rights!Camera!Action! is sponsored by the Archive of Documentary Arts and the Human Rights Archive in the Rubenstein Library, the Duke Human Rights Center @ FHI, and the Program in the Arts of the Moving Image.