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Press Release


  October 23, 2003

The government of Spain today contributed some $225,000 (200,000 Euros) to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights during a ceremony held at the Organization of American States (OAS).

The donation will finance a project aimed at increasing the number of cases that are submitted from the Commission, which is based at OAS headquarters in Washington, to the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, based in San Jose, Costa Rica. The contribution will enable the Commission to hire a full-time lawyer and pay certain expenses associated with each case.

Commission Chairman José Zalaquett accepted the donation from Spain’s Permanent Observer to the OAS, Ambassador Eduardo Gutiérrez Sáenz de Buruaga. The Spanish Ambassador stressed that the inter-American human rights system has “delivered to many people the justice they would not have found at a national level.”

Gutiérrez Sáenz de Buruaga said that the Commission and the Court are important not only because of their legal decisions, but because of the “dissuasive” effect they exercise on potential violators of human rights.

Zalaquett said that although human rights problems continue in the hemisphere, today there is a greater “spirit of cooperation” in addressing the issue. Referring to Spain’s contribution, he said that “this cooperation will enable us to expand the access of justice to human rights victims who have been unable to obtain legal remedy.”

Spain, a permanent observer to the OAS, has contributed to the Human Rights Commission since 1999, as well as to other OAS bodies, including the Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission and the Unit for the Promotion of Democracy. It has also made donations to the OAS Peace Fund and other efforts.

Reference: E-210/03