Breaking Silence

Author: Richard Alan White
Publisher: Georgetown University Press
ISBN: 9781589012813
Format: PDF, ePub
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Young seventeen-year-old Joelito Filártiga was taken from his family home in Asunción, Paraguay, brutally tortured, and murdered by the Paraguayan police. Breaking Silence is the inside story of the quest for justice by his father—the true target of the police—Paraguayan artist and philanthropist Dr. Joel Filártiga. That cruel death, and the subsequent uncompromising struggle by Joelito's father and family, led to an unprecedented sea change in international law and human rights. The author, Richard Alan White, first became acquainted with the Filártiga family in the mid-1970s while doing research for his dissertation on Paraguayan independence. Answering a distressed letter from Joelito's father, he returned to Paraguay and journeyed with the Filártiga family on their long and difficult road to redress. White gives the reader a compelling first-hand, participant-observer perspective, taking us into the family with him, to give witness to not only their agony and sorrow, but their resolute strength as well—strength that led to a groundbreaking $10 million legal decision in Filártiga v. Peña. (Americo Norberto Peña-Irala was the Paraguayan police officer responsible for Joelito's abduction and murder, whom the Filártigas had arrested after finding him hiding in Brooklyn.) That landmark decision, based on the almost obscure Alien Tort Claims Act of 1789, ruled that U.S. courts could accept jurisdiction in international cases—recognizing the right of foreign human rights victims to sue—even though the alleged violation occurred in another country by a non-American and against a non-American. So fundamentally has the Filártiga precedent changed the landscape of international human rights law, that it has served as the basis for nearly 100 progeny suits, and grown to encompass not only human rights abuses, but also violations of international environmental and labor rights law. Today, there are dozens of class action suits pending against corporate defendants ranging from oil conglomerates destroying the Amazon rainforest to designer clothing companies running sweatshops abroad. Breaking Silence is a remarkable, consuming story, documenting not only the most celebrated case in the international human rights field—but also the tragic and touchingly human story behind it that gives it life. In 2001, Dr. Filártiga was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize and the Alien Tort Claims Act continues to be hotly debated among politicians and lawmakers.

New Rights Advocacy

Author: Paul J. Nelson
Publisher: Georgetown University Press
ISBN: 1589012054
Format: PDF, Docs
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After World War II dozens of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) emerged on the global scene, committed to improving the lives of the world's most vulnerable people. Some focused on protecting human rights; some were dedicated to development, aimed at satisfying basic economic needs. Both approaches had distinctive methods, missions, and emphases. In the 1980s and 90s, however, the dividing line began to blur. In the first book to track the growing intersection and even overlap of human rights and development NGOs, Paul Nelson and Ellen Dorsey introduce a concept they call "new rights advocacy." New rights advocacy has at its core three main trends: the embrace of human rights-based approaches by influential development NGOs, the adoption of active economic and social rights agendas by major international human rights NGOs, and the surge of work on economic and social policy through a human rights lens by specialized human rights NGOs and social movement campaigns. Nelson and Dorsey draw on rich case studies of internationally well-known individual NGOs such as Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Oxfam, CARE, ActionAid, and Save the Children, and employ perspectives from fields of human rights, international relations, the sociology of social movements and of complex organizations, and development theory, in order to better understand the changes occurring within NGOs. In questioning current trends using new theoretical frameworks, this book breaks new ground in the evolution of human rights-development interaction. The way in which NGOs are reinventing themselves has great potential for success--or possibly failure--and profound implications for a world in which the enormous gap between the wealthiest and poorest poses a persistent challenge to both development and human rights.

Protecting Human Rights

Author: Todd Landman
Publisher: Georgetown University Press
ISBN: 9781589013988
Format: PDF, Kindle
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Ours has been called a global "age of rights," an era in which respect for human rights is considered the highest aspiration of the international democratic community. Since the United Nation's 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights, a wide variety of protections—civil, political, economic, social, and cultural—have been given legal validation as countries ratify treaties, participate in intergovernmental organizations, and establish human rights tribunals and truth and reconciliation commissions. Yet notable human rights failures have marred the post-Declaration era, including ongoing state violence toward citizens, the selectivity of humanitarian intervention (evidenced by the international community's failure to respond in Rwanda), and recent legislation in advanced democracies that trades some rights for protection against the threat of terrorism. How are we to reconcile the language of rights with the reality? Do we live in an age of rights after all? In Protecting Human Rights, Todd Landman provides a unique quantitative analysis of the marked gap between the principle and practice of human rights. Applying theories and methods from the fields of international law, international relations, and comparative politics, Landman examines data from 193 countries over 25 years (1976-2000) to assess the growth of the international human rights regime, the effect of law on actual protection, and global variation in human rights norms. Landman contends that human rights foreign policy remains based more on geo-strategic interest than moral internationalism. He argues that the influence human rights ideals have begun to have on states cannot be separated from the broader impact of socioeconomic changes that swept the globe in the late twentieth century. Landman concludes that international law alone will not suffice to fully protect human rights—it must be accompanied by democratic government, effective conflict resolution, and just economic systems.

Historical Dictionary of the dirty Wars

Author: David R. Kohut
Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield
ISBN: 0810858398
Format: PDF, ePub
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Unlike a conventional war waged against a standing army, a "dirty war" is waged against individuals, groups, or ideas considered subversive. Originally associated with Argentina's military regime from 1976-1983, the term has since been applied to neighboring dictatorships during the period. Indeed, it has become a byword for state-sponsored repression anywhere in the world. The first edition of this reference illustrated the concept by describing the regimes of Argentina, Chile (1973-1990), and Uruguay (1973-1985), which tortured, murdered, and disappeared thousands of people in the name of anticommunism while thousands more were driven into exile. The second edition expands the scope to include Bolivia (1971-1982), Brazil (1964-1985), and Paraguay (1954-1989). Includes a chronology, an introductory essay, a bibliography, and over 400 cross-referenced dictionary entries on the countries; guerrilla and political movements; prominent guerrilla, human-rights, military, and political figures; local, regional, and international human-rights organizations; and artistic figures (filmmakers, novelists, and playwrights) whose works attempt to represent or resist the period of repression.--Publisher.

The rights of God

Author: Irene Oh
Publisher: Georgetown Univ Pr
ISBN: 9781589011854
Format: PDF, Kindle
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Promoting Islam as a defender of human rights is laden with difficulties. Advocates of human rights will readily point out numerous humanitarian failures carried out in the name of Islam. In The Rights of God, Irene Oh looks at human rights and Islam as a religious issue rather than a political or legal one and draws on three revered Islamic scholars to offer a broad range of perspectives that challenge our assumptions about the role of religion in human rights. Whereas disentangling politics and culture from religion is never easy, Oh shows that the attempt must be made in order to understand and overcome the historical obstacles that prevent genuine dialogue from taking place across religious and cultural boundaries.

Agenda setting the UN and NGOs

Author: Jutta M. Joachim
Publisher: Georgetown Univ Pr
ISBN: 9781589011748
Format: PDF
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Prior to the UN General Assembly's 1993 Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Violence against Women and the 1994 decision by the UN's Conference on Population and Development to vault women's reproductive rights and health to the forefront of its global population growth management program, there was little consensus among governments as to what constituted violence against women and how much control a woman should have over reproduction. Jutta Joachim tells the story of how, in the years leading up to these decisions, women's organizations got savvy--framing the issues strategically, seizing political opportunities in the international environment, and taking advantage of mobilizing structures--and overcame the cultural opposition of many UN-member states to broadly define the two issues and ultimately cement women's rights as an international cause.