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February 22, 1999


The government of the Dominican Republic announced on Monday that it had decided to recognize the jurisdiction of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, an important step in promoting the observance and full respect for human rights in the hemisphere.

Ambassador Flavio Darío Espinal, the Permanent Representative of the Dominican Republic to the OAS, made the announcement as the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) opened its 102nd regular session. He said "this decision by President Leonel Fernández is another demonstration of his commitment to strengthening the organs of the inter-American human rights promotion and protection system."

The Dominican envoy recalled that his country was among signatories of the Inter-American Convention on Human Rights, also known as the Pact of San José, which was signed in 1969. The Dominican Republic had moved to ratify it in 1978 but in the 21 years since remained outside of the Court’s jurisdiction, the Ambassador said. "Fortunately, this will hereafter be a thing of the past," he stressed.

The step taken by his country along with others in the hemisphere, said Ambassador Espinal, "is an important indication that our countries have endeavored to consolidate their democracies and the rule of law," while giving substance to the commitments undertaken by the heads of state and government of the Americas to consolidate the inter-American human rights promotion and protection bodies.

"The decision by my country was preceded by similar decisions by Brazil and Mexico at the end of 1998 and we hope it will serve to renew every member state’s faith in and commitment to the inter-American agencies," the Dominican Ambassador said.