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Guatemalan National Police Archive

Through an unexpected discovery of a cache of incriminating government documents, the University of Texas Libraries are finding new relevance as custodian of the fragile historical record of human rights.

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A chance investigation in Guatemala City in 2005 led to the discovery of millions of administrative police documents dating from 1882 to 1996. The Guatemalan government and police had long denied their existence, particularly during truth commission investigations by both the United Nations and the Catholic Church in the 1990s, during the final years of the country’s nearly four decades of armed civil conflict.

The University of Texas at Austin in collaboration with the Historical Archive of the National Police of Guatemala, or the Archivo Histórico de la Policía Nacional (AHPN), recently unveiled a university-hosted digital archive that will serve as an online digital repository for millions of documents from the archive.

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