Spanish Socialist Workers' Party proposes human rights bill for great apes

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Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Spain’s Partido Socialista Obrero Español (PSOE), the Spanish Socialist Workers' Party, and the Confederación de Los Verdes, the Green Party, proposed a bill to grant some human rights to all great apes (Hominidae), which include humans, bonobos, chimpanzees, gorillas and orang-utans. Humanity shares about 97% of its genome with the great apes.

The proposal was submitted by Francisco Garrido, a delegate of the Confederación de Los Verdes, and is inspired by the Declaration on Great Apes published by the Great Ape Project. Founded in 1993, the Great Ape Project (GAP), calls for an extension of moral egalitarianism to encompass all great apes. The Declaration on Great Apes demands the right to live, the protection of individual liberty and the prohibition of torture for all great apes.

The proposal does not assign the lesser apes gibbons (Hylobates), siamangs (Symphalangus) or the new world anthropoids (Platyrrhines) similar rights. The latter include the species of the capuchin monkeys (Cebinae), a tool using species that possibly demonstrates a degree of self-awareness in the mirror test experiment.

The proposal is scheduled to be discussed in parliament at the end of May. After New Zealand, Spain would be the second country to grant special rights to apes.

Reactions to the proposal

The archbishop of Pamplona and Tudela, Fernando Sebastián, opposed the proposal as ridiculous, given the fact that monkeys would be granted more rights than unborn human embryos.

The president of the Spanish section of Amnesty International, Delia Register, expressed surprise at the idea to grant human rights to great apes when, at the present time, they aren't granted to all human beings.

Related stories

Sister links


Jos Verhulst. "Spain May Grant Human Rights to Apes" — The Brussels Journal, April 27, 2006

Martin Dahms. "Wie menschlich sind Affen?" — Maerkische Allgemeine, May 10, 2006

Ángel Pestaña. "Algo más que monos, mucho menos que humanos" — El País, May 13, 2006

?. "El PSOE solicitará al Congreso de los Diputados que se reconozcan los 'derechos humanos' de los simios" — El Mundo, April 24, 2006

?. "El Grupo Socialista solicitará derechos fundamentales para los grandes simios argumentando su parecido con los humanos" — 20 minutos, April 24, 2006