Bruno Kreisky Foundation

for Human Rights

Cardinal Raúl Silva Henríquez (Chile)

Raúl Silva Henríquez was born in 1907 in Talca, Chile. He studied law at the Catholic Univeristy in Santiao de Chile. In 1930 he entered the novitiate of the Salesians. Over the course of the next few years he completed a degree in theology at the Theological Institute of the Salesians in Turin, Italy. In 1938 in Turin he became a priest. In 1959 he became bishop of Valparaiso, Chile and in 1961 he became archbishop.

Raúl Silva Henríquez was vice president of Caritas in Chile and Caritas International. He went on to become president of Caritas International from 1962 until 1965. In 1983 he retired from his clerical work as archbishop of Santiago de Chile due to his age. He died in 1999.

Raúl Silva Henríquez was a human rights advocate, and strong critic of the dictator Augusto Pinochet. He is a co-founder of the Committee for Peace, Comité por la Paz, which among other tasks, helped political prisoners who were imprisoned under Pinochet’s regime. In 1975 this organization was disbanded and the Vicaria de la Solidaridad organization was established. Raúl Silva Henríquez was honored for his humanitarian works, with the Human Rights Award in 1971 from the Latin American Jewish Congress, or „Congreso Judío Latinoamericano.“ He also received the UN Human Rights Award in 1978.

He was awarded the Bruno Kreisky Prize at the first prize ceremony for his service to human rights. He was one of the leading defenders of personal rights, and the rights of labor unions against the Pinochet regime.