La Mesa Nacional Indígena de Costa Rica (MNICR) conmemora el Día Internacional de los Pueblos Indígenas y envita a reflexionar sobre la voluntad del estado costarricense para cumplir en la práctica los derechos indígenas y atender las demandas y propuestas de los pueblos para superar la situación de vulnerabilidad a que han sido sometidos por las políticas, programas, proyectos y acciones estatales.
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.
Los problemas entre indígenas del territorio de Salitre y finqueros, que aseguran haber comprado tierras en la zona, no son un hecho aislado en el país. Sólo dos territorios indígenas costarricenses -Telire, en Talamanca y Tayní, en Valle de La Estrella- son ocupados al 100 por ciento por indígenas.
Un estudio realizado por la organización internacional y con representación en el país, Forest Peoples Programme (FPP), desnuda que el 71% de los territorios indígenas son ocupados ilegalmente, mínimo en un 40%.
The UN General Assembly during its 69th session, on 22-23 September this year, will convene a high-level plenary meeting - the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples – to review the implementation of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) since its adoption in 2007, and to identify outstanding issues and actions pertaining to indigenous peoples and development.
This study explores the issues of widespread illegal occupation of indigenous lands on a national scale. Approximately 6000 non-indigenous persons are occupying at least 43% of the areas belonging exclusively to indigenous peoples.
There are 8 indigenous peoples in Costa Rica with a total population of 104,143 people, comprising approximately 2.4 percent of the national population. Many live in 24 legally-recognised and titled indigenous territories, as well as on lands traditionally occupied, but not presently recognised or titled. The majority of indigenous peoples’ territories have been massively and illegally occupied by non-indigenous people, including some extreme cases where 98 percent of the land is held by non-indigenous people.
Whenever someone remarks that a solution is being frustrated by ‘lack of political will’, I automatically ask myself: whose is the political will and what are the interests pushing for the opposite?
Professor James Anaya, the UN Special Rapporteur on the Situation of the Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms of Indigenous Peoples, visited Costa Rica from 23-27 March 2012 on an official mission to hold meetings with indigenous peoples’ representatives and members of communities affected by the proposed Diquís Dam, State representatives, and UN staff. His visit included meetings in six different indigenous territories where indigenous peoples from Boruca, Cabagra, China Kichá, Curré, Salitre, La Casona, Térraba, and Ujarrás participated.
The continuous, sometimes subtle, violence of conservation and development against indigenous peoples continues, unchecked even at the highest levels by the most worthy-sounding agencies of the United Nations.
In 2010, the Teribe indigenous people of Costa Rica decided to speak out in response to what they consider gross human rights violations to their people in relation to the proposed Diquís Dam in the country’s South Pacific region. This project will lead to the partial flooding of two indigenous territories and other grave impacts on 5 indigenous territories. In defence of their rights, the Teribe filed their first claim to the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) in mid 2010 and to the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. These actions have resulted in progress both nationally and internationally.
The UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (SRIP), James Anaya, has recently (24 to 27 April 2011) concluded an official mission to Costa Rica. In his report of that mission he makes a series of observations and recommendations concerning the situation of indigenous peoples affected by the Diquis hydroelectric project.
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).
For over 40 years, the Costa Rican government has planned the construction of one of the largest hydroelectric dams in Central America. The plan has been modified several times due to serious criticism for its potential negative environmental and social impacts – especially on indigenous peoples. In 2008, the government of Costa Rica declared the Diquís Dam as being of public interest and national convenience, giving full support for its construction. The proposed Diquís Dam will flood more than 10% of the traditional and titled lands of the Teribe people and more than 5% of those of the Cabécar People. The Teribe people consider the Diquís Dam as a grave threat to their survival as a people, since the Teribe total around only 750 individuals.
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
Letter from CERD (UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination), under the urgent action procedure, in response to request submitted by FPP.
See related reports for Submission to CERD by FPP