First woman ambassador to lie in state

Emilia Castro Silva de Barish, 98, the first woman appointed a career ambassador in Costa Rica, died Sunday.

She will lie in state in the Gold Room of the Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores
y Culto from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. today prior to a noon Mass.

Ms. Castro de Barish entered the country’s foreign service Dec. 9, 1949, the foreign ministry said Monday. She was the dean of the foreign service for many years, her family noted.

Ms. Castro de Barish entered when she was appointed to the Embassy of Costa Rica to the United States, in Washington, D.C. She re-entered the Costa Rican Foreign Service in May 1957 and was appointed first secretary to the permanent mission of Costa Rica to the United Nations, the family said. By the time she retired in 1999, she was the diplomat who had been accredited the longest continuous time to the U.N.

She was the rapporteaur of the U. N. Host Country Committee from 1978 to 1999. From 1970 to 1971, she was vice-chairman of the Third Committee of the General Assembly that deal with human rights.. Being an expert on International human rights, she was a key promoter of the U. N. program of action on a culture of peace, and she was instrumental to the establishment of the Office of the U. N. high commissioner for human rights, the family said.

The ministry said she was a key promoter of the University for Peace, which is a U.N. agency in Ciudad Colón.

In 1987 she was honored by the then secretary general Javier Pérez de Cuéllar with a medal for her service, said the ministry.

Manuel González Sanz called her a “brilliant example of service to the country, a notable woman and diplomat who always illuminated our way.”

Emilia Castro Silva de Barish

Emilia Castro Silva de Barish9

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