Cablegate: Costa Rica Refusing to Support Un Prisoners Of
DE RUEHSJ #0391/01 1351725
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 141725Z MAY 08
FM AMEMBASSY SAN JOSE
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 9708
INFO RUEHZA/WHA CENTRAL AMERICAN COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK PRIORITY 0786
C O N F I D E N T I A L SAN JOSE 000391
DEPARTMENT FOR WHA/CEN AND DRL/MLGA DWALTERS.
E.O. 12958: DECL: 05/13/2018
TAGS: EUN PHUM PREL CS
SUBJECT: COSTA RICA REFUSING TO SUPPORT UN PRISONERS OF
CONSCIENCE DECLARATION WITHOUT AMENDMENTS
REF: A. STATE 40380
B. SAN JOSE 366
Classified By: CDA Peter M. Brennan for reason 1.4 (d).
1. (SBU) SUMMARY: The Costa Rican MFA said on May 14 that it
would not/not co-sponsor the US/EU-backed UN Prisoners of
Conscience Declaration. After stating on May 9 that it would
co-sponsor, on May 12 MFA staff remained noncommittal in
written communications and continued to urge inclusion of
text calling for access to prisoners of conscience by
international entities, as well as an additional mention of
just and fair trials. If there remains any way to show
flexibility on adding text to accommodate these elements,
Costa Rica might reconsider. END SUMMARY.
2. (SBU) On May 9, ADCM spoke to the FonMin's Chief of Staff,
Antonio Alarcon, who said the GOCR would support (and
presumably co-sign) the declaration. Working level MFA staff,
however, transmitted a diplomatic note on May 12 that did not
directly mention co-sponsorship and continued to call for the
declaration to include access to prisoners of conscience.
Additionally, the diplomatic note for the first time added a
request for text calling for guarantee of a fair trial for
detainees. An unofficial translation follows.
3. (U) Begin unofficial translation of May 12 diplomatic note
The Office of Foreign Policy of the Ministry of Foreign
Affairs and Religion informs the Embassy that the Government
of Costa Rica shares the concerns of the United States and
other Co-sponsors of record on the "Declaration on Prisoners
of Conscience" and would be interested in having the text of
the declaration expressly mention the right of visitation
that the detainees have, and the guarantee of a fair trial,
which up to now have not been included in the text.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Religion of Costa Rica
hopes that in the process of negotiation these amendments can
be duly considered.
4. (SBU) Further, on the morning of May 13, Post received a
May 12 after-hours email communication from the MFA's Adriana
Murillo, Human Rights Officer, reiterating that the MFA is
interested in the initiative but would like to see the
declaration take into account the two elements above. The
evening of May 13, Alarcon relayed the same message to ADCM;
the GOCR would "probably" sign, but wanted its views taken
into account in the final declaration text.
5. (SBU) On May 14, we arrived to find an email from Deyanira
Rodriguez, MFA's UN Desk Officer, stating that because they
have received a verbal response in New York that new language
cannot be included, Costa Rica regrets that it cannot join
the US, the EU and other Co-sponsors on this declaration.
6. (U) Begin unofficial translation of May 14 MFA email
For Costa Rica the topic is very important, and although
(Costa Rica) does share the concerns expressed by the
Co-sponsors of this declaration, we consider that there are
fundamental principles that should not be excluded from the
declaration, such as the right of visitation that the
prisoners have and the guarantee to a fair trial.
We have let that be known both in corresponding delegations
in New York, as well as verbally from the MFA. To now we have
only received a verbal response in New York by which we are
told that it will not be possible to include new language in
It is for the above reasons that Costa Rica regrets that in
this opportunity, it cannot join the US, the EU and other
Co-sponsors in this declaration.
7. (C) COMMENT: As renowned advocates for global human
rights, President Arias and Costa Rica clearly want to be a
part of this initiative. Alarcon, well aware of USG interest
in the Declaration, seemed uncomfortable that his government
was dragging its feet. Showing flexibility on the text might
help (unless there is some substantive or political reason to
the contrary). As we requested previously (Ref B), please
advise whether the GOCR's suggestions can be incorporated
into the declaration text. END COMMENT.