29 January 2017


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Special Committee on Decolonization: Communiqué on the commutation of the sentence of Oscar López Rivera


The Special Committee on Decolonization welcomes and shares Puerto Rico’s joy over the release of independence leader Oscar López Rivera thanks to the united struggle and solidarity of the Puerto Rican people joined by various international personalities including Pope Francis. 

After serving 35 years of a 70-year sentence, his sentence was commuted by decision of the President Barack Obama.

The Special Committee on Decolonization requested of the Government of the United States of America the release of Oscar López Rivera by its decisions on the question of Puerto Rico adopted by consensus on 16 June 2015 and 16 June 2016. The Committee transmitted the latter decision to the United States Mission to the United Nations in New York by communication No. 000627 of 3 November 2016.

As part of the annual consideration of the question of Puerto Rico, for almost 40 years the Committee has been continuously requesting the release of Puerto Rican independence activists serving sentences in United States prisons, while at the same time reaffirming the inalienable right of the Puerto Rican people to self-determination and independence, in accordance with General Assembly resolution 1514 (XV), and the applicability of the fundamental principles of that resolution to the question of Puerto Rico.

The Special Committee on Decolonization, in response to the general outcry of the Puerto Rican population, coupled with the requests of prominent personalities, was unceasing in its demand that justice be done in the case of Oscar López Rivera, who became the longest-serving political prisoner in the world. In that connection, the Committee trusts that the release of Oscar López Rivera will take place within the established timeframe.

In the light of this important decision of the Government of the United States of America, and in line with the need to guarantee the legitimate right of the Puerto Rican people to self-determination and the protection of their human rights, the Special Committee on Decolonization reiterates its unequivocal commitment to the fulfilment of its mandate with regard to the implementation of the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to ColonialCountries and Peoples.