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IACHR mission visits Costa Rica to evaluate protections for indigenous communities

May 21, 2019

Representatives of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) began on Monday a visit to Costa Rica to supervise protection measures for two indigenous peoples, following the assassination of a leader in March.

The mission is headed by the vice president of the IACHR, Joel Hernández, who met with the Costa Rican president, Carlos Alvarado, to discuss the situation of the Bribrí and Teribe indigenous communities, who are threatened by landowners in the south of the country.

The president invited the IACHR, an autonomous entity of the Organization of American States (OAS), to visit the Bribrí and Teribe territories, after the murder of the indigenous leader Sergio Rojas on March 18.

“Our expectation of this meeting is to understand the state of these two peoples and the measures that the State must continue to grant to guarantee the security and rights of indigenous peoples,” said Hernández before meeting with Alvarado.

Juan Alfaro, Vice Minister of the Presidency, said that “the exchange with the IACHR is an important occasion to hear the observations and suggestions of the commission, with the aim of strengthening compliance with precautionary measures” in favor of the indigenous people.

The IACHR planned to visit Monday and Tuesday in southern Costa Rica, where the two indigenous communities that are the object of the mission are located.

The Bribrí and Teribe peoples began receiving measures of protection in 2015 in the face of threats from loggers and farmers who have tried to cut down their forests and appropriate their lands.

During the visit, the mission of the IACHR also intends to learn about the situation of Nicaraguan migrants in Costa Rica.

Some 55,000 Nicaraguans have sought refuge in Costa Rica after repression of anti-government protests that began in April 2018, according to the United Nations.

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