Rest in Peace, Pepe Zalaquett

Fecha: (2/27/2020 12:19:58 PM)


The Inter-American Institute of Human Rights deeply regrets the passing of José Zalaquett, the distinguished Chilean jurist and academic. Pepe was an exceptional human being, generous with his time and committed to the well-being of humanity, a tireless fighter for human rights and for the search for truth and justice.

During the military dictatorship, Pepe underwent persecution, jailing and exile. In his stays in France and the United States, he became even more militant in the defense of human rights. He was President of the Executive Committee of Amnesty International, a member of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Chile and, from 2001 to 2004, a member of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, which he also chaired.

Pepe was a statesman, who was courageous and coherent in what he said and what he did, he lived an exemplary life. He received widespread recognition for his valuable ethical and legal contributions as a human rights defender and as a professor of international law and human rights. In our Institute, we and several generations of students from throughout the hemisphere had the privilege to hear him speak, especially at the Interdisciplinary Course on Human Rights. We learned what he thought and recognized his commitment to the victims during long hours of reflection and by listening to the impeccable manner in which he expressed himself, as befits an intellectual and academic of his magnitude. His open smile will live forever in our memory. His teachings were seeds of light, which were sown throughout the world in his classes and in defense of the individual, that illuminate the path toward the full exercise of human rights.

The IIHR General Assembly, Director and staff express their remorse to his family, his country and to all of those who, on a daily basis, strive to make a world in which all persons are able to live with dignity and can exercise their rights without restriction.