"One of our goals as archivists is to make sure that documentation created today is not only used in current advocacy, but also preserved for future needs, be they legal or educational." - Grace Lile of WITNESS
Archives are essential in promoting and defending human rights, and support all other forms of human rights advocacy. Some key ways in which archives contribute to human rights include:
Documenting the reality, for purposes of truth-seeking and closure for victims;
Affirming the right to know;
Protecting historical memory;
Preserving evidence that may be crucial for legal redress;
Demanding accountability for perpetrators of rights violations and abuses;
Serving as a baseline or source for study, comparative research and policy analysis;
Highlighting the diverse experiences of people who are rarely represented by conventional narratives; and
Combatting the efforts of authorities to deliberately erase history.
While much of human rights work focuses on the urgent needs of the present, it is equally as important to address past abuses and to preserve their records for the future. The act of archiving involves the methodical and purposeful effort to engage in this preservation. Only through collecting, preserving, and presenting can we sustain historical memory, educate future generations, and protect the evidence necessary to strive toward justice and human rights in the long-term. To contribute to 6.4 Heritage's efforts in archiving the 1989 Tiananmen Protest, tell us your story.
Collect. Preserve. Present.
Documented cases on record