New Documentary Profiles Human Rights Watch Team

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1023_E-TEAMWhen wars take place around the world, Human Rights Watch is keeping an eye on them. In a new documentary called the "E-Team," directors Katy Chevigny and Ross Kaufman profile an elite group called the Emergencies Team or E-Team, who are the boots on the ground in these areas of crisis, documenting human rights violations and war crimes against civilians.

Here & Now's Robin Young talks to the co-director of "E-Team," Katy Chevigny, and the subject of the film, Anna Neistat.

Interview Highlights: Kate Chevigny and Anna Neistat

Katy Chevigny on why she decided to make this documentary

“We knew a little about the work of Human Rights Watch, but not a lot. It wasn’t until we had dinner with members of the E-Team — Anna and Ole and Fred and Peter, and at the end of the dinner, Ross and I really felt like we had just met characters from a movie.”

Anna Neistat on whether their work is done secretly

"To be honest there is nothing secretive about what we do. We are not spies. All of our work is very open. In many cases both organizations, Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, write to the authorities and try to get official permission to work in the country. We try to establish connections with non-state actors, rebel groups, to make sure that we are not only able to operate in the areas they control but to also bring our findings back to them. There are of course situations where the government says there is no way. At some point we just decide that not going to stop us.”

Anna Neistat on how the E-Team does its work

"We don’t take sides. We cannot possibility take sides. That is the foundation of the work that Human Rights Watch does, that Amnesty International does. In every conflict our concern is not which side is right or wrong, but the situation of the civilians between those two sides. I feel most comfortable about my work where we get harshly criticized by both sides.”


  • Katy Chevigny, co-director of the documentary "E-Team." She tweets @mightychevs.
  • Anna Neistat, senior director for research at Amnesty International, formerly with Human Rights Watch. She tweets @AnnaNeistat.

This segment aired on October 23, 2014.


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