The Mobilization of Shame

A World View of Human Rights

Robert F. Drinan, S.J.

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Global consciousness of human rights grew dramatically during the second half of the twentieth century. Today many more human rights are recognized by international law, and far more people are involved and interested in human rights. This book tells the amazing history of this revolution in global thinking and discusses all the critical issues now facing the human rights movement. Father Robert F. Drinan, a highly respected activist in human rights events of the past several decades, reflects on both the progress of and obstacles to the movement.

Father Drinan discusses the development of a consensus to establish the United Nations in the 1940s and follows the human rights movement through to such recent events as the indictment of Milosevic and the ad hoc tribunals relating to the Balkans and Rwanda. Among the topics the author considers are:

• women’s worldwide struggle for equality

• the performance of the United States in adhering to customary international law
• the declarations and covenants on human rights issued by the United Nations

• the global revolution in the rights of children

• the right to food

• the right to religious freedom

• the human rights of prisoners and the legitimacy of the death penalty

• protections against torture and other cruel or inhuman treatment

• South Africa’s and other nations’ commissions on truth and reconciliation

As a priest, a lawyer, and a former U.S. Congressman, Father Drinan provides a unique perspective on—and an unflinching appraisal of—the human rights movement today and its prospects for the future.

Robert F. Drinan, an ordained Jesuit priest, is professor of law at Georgetown University Law Center. For more than three decades he has been an advocate for international human rights.

“Anyone interested in human rights will read Robert Drinan’s informative, passionate and challenging book with deep concern and hope.”—Elie Wiesel, Boston University 

“The author brings to this compelling account of the human rights movement an exceptional blend of scholarly expertise, political experience, and moral authority.”—Ruti Teitel, author of Transitional Justice

“We have no greater scholar of human rights than Robert Drinan, a man who has combined his scholarship with years of activism. In this book Drinan melds academic polish to political savvy in addressing some of the thorniest issues we in the human rights community confront. He does it concisely but with his customary passion. All of us who care about the future of human rights are in his debt.”—William F. Schulz, Executive Director of Amnesty International USA

“[Drinan] provides a summary of developments within the human rights movement, including points of deep contention within the corridors of power.”—Joshua Rubenstein, Christian Science Monitor

“Drinan fills a gap in the literature with his concise, readable survey of the evolution of human rights protection from the late 1940s to the present. He provides a clear summary of international human rights law for the general reader, including a wealth of detail on the manifold human rights operations of the UN, on U.S. human rights policies over the years, and on regional human rights tribunals in Europe and Latin America.”—Mary Ann Glendon, First Things

“Father Drinan provides refreshingly candid appraisals of the efforts of states and the world community in an array of areas implicating human rights. His provocative, compelling account examines such diverse human rights topics as truth commissions, women’s battle for equality, the inchoate conception of a right to food, and the decline of the death penalty worldwide.”—Harvard Law Review


“I highly recommend this book to anyone who is interested in the history and the future of human rights. . . . I think this book serves as an excellent overview of the international human rights movement and the role of the United States government in the movement.”—International Journal of Legal Information

“With The Mobilization of Shame, Drinan has added to the long list of important contributions he has made to the campaign for human rights. Those of us who have admired his courage and commitment to human rights can benefit in new ways from his vast experience and clarity of vision.”—Marie Dennis, National Catholic Reporter

“Above all, Drinan makes a strong case for the principled use of human rights campaigns as an instrument of political pressure on governments—including our own—that violate international agreements or mistreat their citizens.”—Linda Rabben, National Journal

"Drinan surveys the world from a human rights stand point between 1945 and early 2001. He chronicles successes and failures, names names, assesses nations' efforts toward peace building, and dares to predict a positive future. . . . Highly accessible, clearly written, and convincing. . . . I highly recommend this work for those who have not given up and given in to despair. Furthermore, I hope that Drinan is working on a sequel!"—Moni McIntyre, Catholic Books Review

Robert F. Drinan is the recipient of the 2003 Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt Institute’s Freedom of Worship Medal. The honor was bestowed on Father Drinan to recognize his achievements that have ‘embodied the spirit of Franklin D. Roosevelt’

Robert Drinan was awarded the 2004 ABA Medal, the ABA medal recognizes exceptionally distinguished service to the cause of American jurisprudence; "In an amazing career that has spanned more than half a century, Father Drinan has never faltered in his extraordinary humanitarian efforts and support for justice under the law. He has demonstrated to lawyers what it means to be committed to public service and to countless law students what is embodied in the highest dedication to ethical, moral legal practice. By his standards of leadership, he contributes to the luster and dignity of our award," said Archer in announcing the selection.”—From the ABA Award presentation

Praise for Robert F. Drinan
“[Father Drinan’s] qualifications are beyond criticism: he is a Catholic priest; he rejects the fanaticism found in his own milieu; he believes in the primacy of ethical principles even in politics; and in his eyes action and faith are not necessarily at odds.”—Elie Wiesel, Boston University

“Father Drinan’s credentials as a humanitarian, religious leader, and thinker are unassailable. He is a direct descendant and torch-bearer of the most prominent Jesuit leaders in the Catholic Church. . . . While he is truly a man of God, a man of deep principle, and a man of profound conscience, his astute grasp of practical solutions to world problems enables him to debate policy as a scholar and practitioner, as well as a religious leader.”—Jimmy Carter, Former President of the United States
ISBN: 9780300088250
Publication Date: March 11, 2001
256 pages, 5 1/2 x 8 1/4
Can God and Caesar Coexist?

Balancing Religious Freedom and International Law

Robert F. Drinan, S.J.

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