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ISBN: 9781589012240 (1589012240)
Advancing Human Rights series
The Case That Changed the Face of Human Rights
Richard Alan White
Chosen as an Outstanding Title in 2005 by the American Association of School Libraries and the Public Library AssociationHonorable Mention, The Gustavus Myers Outstanding Book Awards 2005
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.
Richard Alan White is Senior Fellow at the Council on Hemispheric Affairs in Washington, DC, and former consultant on Latin American affairs for ABC World News. He has worked for Amnesty International, and is the author of The Morass: United States Intervention in Central America and Paraguay's Autonomous Revolution: 1810-1840.
Sumner B. Twiss, John Kelsay, and Terry Coonan, Series Editors
"Breaking Silence deserves widespread reading and use."—Criminal Justice Review
"Over ten years, I've observed Dr. White's meticulous research methods at work yielding a monumental study on international human rights law and politics. From my standpoint as a human rights educator, Breaking Silence is a triple winner: a highly readable and gripping dramatic thriller, a true story by an historian who witnessed the development of the landmark case from its tragic beginning to triumphant ending; and a book that puts the human into the study of human rights."—Richard Pierre Claude, founding editor of Human Rights Quarterly and professor emeritus of government and politics, University of Maryland
"Breaking Silence offers a unique, personal insight into the family behind the most important human rights case in modern U.S. legal history. What happened to the Filártigas, and what they did with their family tragedy, invokes simultaneous emotions of sadness, heartbreak and outrage, but also hope, inspiration and admiration for the courage of the people and the creativity of the lawyers behind this groundbreaking lawsuit. Ultimately, this important book shows that anything can happen when you combine the power of law and the power of people. It is a must read for anyone who thinks that the powers they are challenging are just too powerful—sometimes, just sometimes, there is justice and the good guy does win."—Katie Redford, codirector of EarthRights International
"Richard White was present at the creation of the Filártiga case, and has written a very powerful and moving account of this landmark case. It is a fitting tribute to the courage and commitment of one family, and of a small group of dedicated supporters who stayed the course, and in the end transformed, despite the risks and setbacks involved, the landscape of human rights advocacy."—George Andreopoulos, director of the Center for International Human Rights at the City University of New York, and president of the Human Rights section of the American Political Science Association