10407 - Truth-seeking, Memory and Accountability for Past Human Rights Abuses: The Impact of Archives in Latin America's Transitions

This paper will examine how records creation, recordkeeping, access and the discovery of hidden archives have impacted transitional justice in Latin America. Archives have been at the center of the struggles by societies in Latin America reckoning with years of authoritarianism and civil wars that affected most of the region from the 1960s to the early 2000s. These archives, both public and private, have been critical for memory initiatives for human rights investigations, regardless if the venue are the courts, truth commissions or the media.

This paper will provide an archival perspective to the scholarship about transitional justice and it will be divided into two main sections. First, it will present an analysis of how archives are discussed in the literature about transitional justice in Latin America. What does the literature says about the role of archives in the creation of collective memories and in holding perpetrators accountable for human rights abuses? Second, this paper will discuss the role of archives in mechanisms of transitional justice in Latin America. More specifically, how does access to different types of archives impact the shaping of collective memory? How does it affect accountability for past human rights abuses? To answer these questions, this paper will present an analysis of truth commission reports and court documents from human rights investigations in Latin America, Spain, and the United States.

Keywords: archives, transitional justice, human rights, collective memory

Author: Blanco-Rivera, Joel (Simmons Graduate School of Library and Information Science, Ud States of Am / USA)


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