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May 27, 1998

The government of Costa Rica on Tuesday registered its firm backing for efforts by Organization of American States (OAS) member countries to abolish the death penalty around the hemisphere.

At a ceremony held at the OAS headquarters in Washington, the alternate representative of Costa Rica, Ambassador Jorge Rhenán Segura, deposited the instrument for his government to ratify the Protocol to the American Convention on Human Rights to Abolish the Death Penalty, a protocol adopted in Asuncion, Paraguay, in June 1990.

The Costa Rican diplomat said by ratifying the death penalty protocol his country was "once more reaffirming its commitment to human rights, to basic freedoms and to the preservation of human life." He recalled as well that his country had done away with the death penalty under its constitution and other laws, "thus becoming one of the pioneers in the international community to banish this terrible practice."

Costa Rica was depositing its ratifying instrument with the OAS General Secretariat three months after its Legislative Assembly passed Law No. 7747 on February 23 this year approving the ratification.

Welcoming the decision by Costa Rica, OAS Secretary General César Gaviria said the instrument was one that "brings to fruition a positive trend towards abolition of the death penalty by the states of the hemisphere."

At the upcoming [OAS] General Assembly session in Venezuela, "our country commits to asking the member states to move towards enhancing their democratic systems and even step up promotion and protection of human rights," said the Costa Rican diplomat.

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