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C.R. Gets Mixed Grades On Human Rights Report

March 28, 2008

Costa Rica got a host of high marks on a human rights report card published recently by the U.S. State Department.

The country graded well on police corruption and brutality but poorly on press freedom, jail overcrowding and sanitation, judicial process delays, child sexual exploitation and marginalization of indigenous people.

The country was hailed for not having any politically motivated disappearances and not practicing torture. The U. S. government, meanwhile, has faced international criticism for housing prisoners without due process at GuantanamoBay and endorsing questionable interrogation tactics, such as waterboarding.

One of the more serious problems mentioned in the U.S. report included housing pretrial detainees with convicted felons, which is a violation of Costa Rica’s laws.

The report also emphasized that the country’s “court overcrowding and antiquated legal system” have greatly compromised its response to crime.

Costa Rica is weak on enforcing labor laws and has declined to enforce a 12-year-old law requiring all buildings to be handicapped-accessible, the report states.

On press freedom, the report cited antiquated libel laws and excessive penalties for violations.

“The provisions (of the law) outline a series of (defamation) laws that establish up to three years in prison for those convicted of insulting the honor or decorum of a public official,” the report states. “The law also identifies defamation, libel, slander and calumny as offenses against a person’s honor that can carry criminal penalties.”

The U.S. State Department said it has been compiling human rights reports on other countries since 1977.

 

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