Center for Research Libraries - Global Resources Network

Resources for


Human Rights

The United Nations General Assembly published the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which defined the modern concept of human rights developed in the aftermath of World War II. The activities of human rights advocacy groups, courts, media, governments, and the victims and survivors of violations generate a wide variety of documentation, including:

  • the records of official tribunals, courts, truth commissions, and investigations of human rights violations
  • records of nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) devoted to preventing, monitoring, and exposing human rights violations
  • evidence and documentation gathered and created by those official and nongovernmental organizations, and
  • documentation and evidence of human rights violations gathered by activists, citizens, journalists, witnesses, and even the perpetrators themselves. 

The evidence takes a variety of forms, such as photographs, pamphlets, audio recordings, videos, manuscripts, case files, transcripts, newspapers, Web pages, electronic messages, social media, and even databases. Each of these documentation types comes with its own logistical, cultural, and infrastructural challenges, which CRL has begun to address through reports on best practices, reviews of documentation technology, and assessments of a variety of human rights documentation practices presented in the Human Rights Electronic Resources Study supported by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.

The human rights field is attempting to professionalize documentation practices at all levels, from the smallest grassroots groups of activists to large professional organizations such as Amnesty International or Human Rights Watch. This push comes as the next logical evolution in the field as a number of crises around the world move into national and international judicial systems for prosecution or reconciliation. The need for reliable and well-preserved documentation of atrocities becomes immediately apparent, both for this purpose and for other downstream uses. With growing scholarly interest in human rights as a field of research, a number of legal and academic institutions have stepped up to help preserve the documentation human rights organizations produce in their everyday work.

To help inform human rights documentation by CRL member institutions, this guide points to a variety of resources designed to devise effective strategies for preserving and disseminating a wide variety of documentation types, as well as an overview of CRL collections in this area and other related resources.

CRL Collections

    CRL’s human rights collections feature primary source materials ranging from the proceedings of the post-World War II war crimes trials at Nuremberg and Tokyo to the files of the Khmer Rouge Santebal police recovered from the notorious Tuol Sleng Prison in Cambodia. Document types include treaties, speeches, government and NGO publications, reports, addresses from congresses and conventions, newspapers, transcripts, case files, personal diaries of victims of human rights violations, and the papers of human rights activists. Secondary sources include periodicals, dissertations, and published works of fiction and nonfiction covering the breadth of topics in this multidisciplinary field.


    Human Rights Documents. Africa
    Inter Documentation Co

    Publications of various nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) concerned with human rights and social justice in Africa, such as the Civil Rights League (South Africa), Southern Africa Project (Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law), and the Comités de lutte contre la répression au Maroc (Paris, France). Includes periodical titles such as South African Outlook, Africa News, Africa Perspective, and South African Labour Bulletin.

    Catalog Record · Guide
    Somalia newspapers, post-Barre period

    Newspapers published in Mogadishu, Hargeisa, and other locations after the overthrow of Mohamed Siad Barre in 1991. They document the growing instability and violence within the country. CRL holdings through 1996. Collected and assembled by the Library of Congress, Nairobi Office, and filmed in two parts, part 1 and part 2.


    Human Rights in India

    A collection on microfiche produced by the Library of Congress field office in New Delhi, this series reproduces pamphlets and publications from organizations such as the Association for Protection of Democratic Rights, Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative, Ganatantrika Adhikara Raksha Samiti, Indian People’s Human Rights Commission, Naga Peoples Movement for Human Rights, Peoples Union for Democratic Rights, and the Punjab Human Rights Organisation.

    CRL also has related sets on fiche collected in Bangladesh, Kashmir, Nepal, and Sri Lanka.

    Catalog Record
    Khmer Rouge top secret Santebal (S-21) archives
    Parti communiste du Kampuchea
    Yale University Library with the Documentation Center of Cambodia

    Collection of over 100,000 pages from the Khmer Rouge state police archives were preserved by the Documentation Center of Cambodia. Types of documents include: confessions, letters, lists, petitions, meeting minutes, Khmer Rouge notebook, political training, medical training, military training, revolutionary songs, personal accounts, slogans, poems.

    Catalog Record · Guide
    Record of Proceedings of the International Military Tribunal for the Far East: Tokyo, Japan
    International Military Tribunal for the Far East

    Covers the war crimes trials of 5,700 individuals in the wake of World War II. Crimes ranged from military aggression to crimes against humanity (the Nanking Massacre). CRL holds complete transcripts of proceedings, statements, inventories of exhibits called into evidence, indexes for witnesses, judgements and opinions, and staff historical files.

    Catalog Record · Guide


    International Military Tribunal (Nuremberg, 1945–49). [Trial of the Major War Criminals Before the International Military Tribunal, Nuremberg, 14 November 1945–1 October 1946]

    On August 8, 1945, representatives of the USSR, France, the United States, and Great Britain signed the London Agreement that authorized the International Military Tribunal (IMT) to conduct a war crimes trial of Axis leaders. The IMT trial began on October 18, 1945, with 24 defendants all tried together. The defendants (and their sentences on one or more counts) were: Hermann Wilhelm Goring (death); Rudolf Hess (life imprisonment); Joachim von Ribbentrop (death); Robert Ley (suicide before sentencing); Wilhelm Keitel (death); Ernst Kaltenbrunner (death); Alfred Rosenberg (death); Hans Frank (death); Wilhelm Frick (death); Julius Streicher (death); Walter Funck (life imprisonment); Hjalmar Schacht (not guilty); Gustav Krupp von Bohlen und Halback (too ill to stand trial); Karl Donitz (10 years); Erich Raeder (life imprisonment); Baldur von Schirach (20 years); Fritz Sauckel (death); Alfred Jodl (death); Martin Bormann (tried in absentia; death); Franz von Papen (not guilty); Arthur Seyss-Inquart (guilty); Albert Speer (20 years); Constantin von Neurath (15 years); and Hans Fritzsche (not guilty).

    CRL’s set of mimeograph copies of records from the Nuremberg trial is nearly complete and includes documents in English and German (with a few in French or Russian). The documents are arranged on the shelf in boxes in order of presentation of evidence. For assistance in accessing uncataloged material, please contact CRL’s mwilke [at] crl [dot] edu (Member Liaison and Outreach Services Director.)

    Nazi Propaganda Literature in the Library of the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research
    YIVO Institute for Jewish Research

    Source materials on modern German anti-semitism, national socialism, and the Holocaust. The collection of the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research contains extensive collections of Nazi-German publications about Jews, Judaism, and the "Jewish Question". The vast majority of the collection dates from the Nazi period, although a substantial number of works were published during the Weimar Republic.

    Collection content includes materials related to Nazi research on Jews and Judaism, Anti-Semitic scholarship, "knapsack books" (used to indoctrinate the common soldier), photographs and drawings, and numerous unique or rare items.

    Catalog Record · Guide
    The Jewish People from Holocaust to Nationhood: Archives of the Central British Fund for Jewish Relief, 1933–60
    CBF World Jewish Relief
    Research Publications, inc.

    This three-unit set is a collection of documents from the Central British Fund for World Jewish Relief. Documents include minutes from meetings that set in place relief efforts for German Jews as early as 1933, reports on the growing pressure to create an independent Jewish state, and post-war documents dealing with resettlement and restitution for those affected by Nazi actions.

    pt. 1. Archives, files 1–110 (20 reels)

    pt. 2. Archives, files 111–208 (19 reels)

    pt. 3. Archives, files 209–341 (35 reels)

    Catalog Record · Guide

    Latin America

    Brasil, Nunca Mais Project
    Brazil. Superior Tribunal Militar
    Archiocese of São Paulo

    CRL holdings include 543 rolls of microfilm containing court documents (processos) from Brazil’s Military Supreme Court. These proceedings document the cases of over 7,000 persons arrested, charged, convicted, or executed by the Court between 1964 and 1979. The official records, which were copied in secret, document human-rights violations by the military government in Brazil during this period.

    CRL also possesses a microfilmed copy of the six-volume report Projeto 'Brasil, Nunca Mais', which serves as an index to the court records.

    Catalog Record · Guide
    Documenting the Peruvian Insurrection
    Primary Source Microfilm

    Collection of ephemera that includes printed materials authored by the Sendero Luminoso and reports of the Peruvian government institutions trying to contain the insurrection launched by this group. Filmed from the holdings of the Princeton University Library.

    Catalog Record · Guide
    Fundación P.I.D.E.E archive
    Fundación para la Protección de la Infancia Dañada por los Estados de Emergencia
    Fundación P.I.D.E.E

    Records from PIDEE archive in Santiago, Chile. Consists of case files for children and families to whom services were supplied by PIDEE. Case files are arranged arranged as follows: Section I. Missing detainees; Section II. Persons executed for political reasons; Section III. Political prisoners; Section IV. Former political prisoners; Section V. Persons returning from exile; Section VI. Family reunification; Section VII. Persons subject to restricted residence order; Section VII. Special cases (persecutions, threats, or others)

    Catalog Record · Guide

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