This report addresses the pattern of pervasive, long-standing and inter-connected violations or denials of the rights of indigenous peoples in the Republic of Costa Rica, and the ongoing situation of impunity in which they occur and persist.
SAN JOSE, May 11 2015 (IPS) - After years of violence against two indigenous groups in Costa Rica, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) demanded that the government adopt measures by May 15 to protect the life and physical integrity of the members of the two communities.
Due to a series of violent attacks and threats against these two indigenous peoples in the last few years, the Commission decided that the acts and omissions of the State were not adequate and ordered Costa Rica, together with the affected peoples, to take the measures necessary to better protect the lives and physical integrity of the two indigenous peoples and their members. The State has 15 days to respond to the Commission and the Commission will continue to monitor the matter.
The UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, S. James Anaya, visited Costa Rica on an official mission from 24-27 April 2011. His visit responds to an Urgent Request made by Forest Peoples Programme’s (FPP) partners in Costa Rica: Kus Kura S.C. and a number of Térraba indigenous peoples’ organisations.
The Urgent Request highlighted critical issues that the Térraba people are facing in their traditional lands, including: first, the denial of their territorial rights, and the massive encroachment on their lands by non-indigenous persons; second, the threat of irreparable harm caused by the proposed Diquís Dam that will permanently flood 10 percent of the Térraba lands (this will also affect other indigenous peoples as seven different indigenous territories are within the Térraba River basin); and third, the absence of effective judicial remedies to address the imposition of political-administrative structures in each territory (primarily local government bodies that are not fully accountable to indigenous peoples and are not their preferred form of political organisation).
Students from the Human Rights Clinic of the University of Texas School of Law traveled to Costa Rica in the spring of 2010 to investigate the proposed creation of the largest hydroelectric project of its kind in Central America and its impact on the indigenous Teribe people. In violation of international human rights law, the Costa Rican government is proceeding without the consultation with and the free, prior and informed consent of the Teribe people who live on the proposed site. The Human Rights Clinic published the following report in English and in Spanish: Swimming Against the Current: The Teribe Peoples and the El Diquis Hydroelectric Project in Costa Rica