AHPN Digital Archive User Guide Published by UT Austin

AHPN User GuideWe are happy to announce publication of the AHPN Digital Archive User Guide. This 44-page detailed manual contains a wealth of information, including specific examples, on how to conduct successful searches in the archive. The guide contains specific sections on how to use the search and browse functions of the archive, how to use the Registro Maestro de Fichas, the general organizational format of the archive, as well as search strategies with examples and screenshots.

To view or download the guide, click on the cover or link above and then click on either the PDF icon or text link under “Files in this work.”

“From Silence to Memory”: A Vital Resource for Using the AHPN Digital Archive

From Silence to MemoryFrom Silence to Memory: Revelations of the Archivo Histórico de la Policía Nacional is the English language translation of a 500 page report originally published by the AHPN in Spanish in 2011. The book is the single most important reference work for conducting research with the AHPN archival records as it provides extensively documented details on the overall structure of the National Police as well as the myriad units that were part of it, including their relationships to one another and their functions. The structure and functions of the National Police constitute the primary organizing principle for the the AHPN’s archival arrangement. From Silence to Memory also contains numerous exemplary cases of actual research conducted using the archive, including reproductions of the actual documents. These exemplary cases can be used as a guide or template for conducting research using the Digital Archive.

To view or download the full text of From Silence to Memory, which was translated and published by the University of Oregon, click on the link above and then click on the file link under “Files in this item”.

Conference: Impunity, Justice and the Human Rights Agenda

The Bernard and Audre Rapoport Center for Human Rights and Justice at the University of Texas School of Law is pleased to announce its ninth annual conference, to take place February 7-8, 2013. The conference is free and open to the public. Registration is strongly encouraged.

Impunity, Justice and the Human Rights Agenda

Since the early 1990s, the human rights movement has increasingly taken up the mantra of anti-impunity and placed its faith in criminal justice systems—international, domestic and transnational—to achieve it.  Indeed, it is difficult to find the identification of a human rights violation today that does not call for criminal investigation and the prosecution of perpetrators.  To the extent there are debates about that strategy, they generally take place around the question “where,” not whether, prosecutions should occur.  With the growth of the international criminal arena and increased pressure on states to engage in prosecutions of human rights violators, even if not especially from years long past, an increasing amount of attention has been placed on uncovering, developing and making accessible archives that might assist now or in the future with the fight against impunity.

This conference will bring together scholars, human rights advocates and policy makers from around the world to assess critically the human rights movement’s focus on anti-impunity. What is gained and lost with this focus?

Read more details about the conference “Impunity, Justice and the Human Rights Agenda,” including the full conference schedule and speaker bios.

Virginia Garrard Burnett on “La Violencia” in Guatemala

During the month of December, 2011, the UT Austin History Department website “Not Even Past” featured a multimedia piece with Dr. Virginia Garrard-Burnett, professor of History at UT Austin and long time user and friend of the Guatemalan National Police Archive. The feature includes a lengthy written piece, a 20 minute video interview with Dr. Burnett, and a set of stunning photos by Jean-Marie Simon. Dr. Burnett’s most recent book, Terror in the Land of the Holy Spirit: Guatemala under General Efrain Rios Montt 1982-1983, examines the ideology of violence in Guatemala.Not Even Past

Here is a brief excerpt from the piece: “My own construction of a history of this period relies heavily on primary sources that, up until this time, have remained relatively untouched. These include the guerrilla documents recently acquired by the Centro de Investigaciones Regionales (CIRMA) in Antigua and a selection of church-related documents having to do with Catholic Action that are housed at the Centro Ak’ Kutanin Cobán, Alta Verapaz. I have also made extensive use of documents from the US State Department and US intelligence services that have been declassified and organized by the privately-run National Security Archive based at Georgetown University in Washington D.C. Finally, I used a large collection of documents and “ephemera”—domestic and foreign newspaper clippings, published government decrees and public statements, official copies of legislation, government-run “public service” ads, press releases, human rights reports, guerrilla pamphlets, papers, posters, and propaganda broadsides, and government-generated visual propaganda, including posters and signs; I also utilize covert reports put together by exile groups, transcripts of Ríos Montt’s “Sunday sermons,” and personal interviews that I and others collected when we were living in Guatemala back in the day. This personal collection will eventually find its way into the Benson Latin American Collection at the University of Texas at Austin.”

“Politics of Memory” Conference Launchs AHPN Digital Archive

Visit the Politics of Memory website to learn more about this important event, view photos and video from the conference, and follow the press coverage. The University of Texas at Austin is honored to host a conference as part of its collaboration with the Historical Archive of the National Police of Guatemala, or the Archivo Histórico de la Policía Nacional (AHPN). This interdisciplinary conference celebrates the unveiling of a UT-hosted digital archive that will serve as an on-line digital repository for millions of documents from the Historical Archive of the National Police in Guatemala. The conference will consider how use of the Archive has helped to deepen understanding of Guatemala’s history, and to advance human rights, both crucial to strengthening Guatemala’s embattled democracy.