Indigenous rights and reproductive rights key concerns of HR Committee on Costa Rica

Published on 01 Apr 2016, 01:14 PM

The review of Costa Rica was completed on 17 March 2016. The Committee’s Chair kicked off the review with a reminder that Costa Rica was the first state which ratified the ICCPR in 1968. It was also reminded that Costa Rica was also among the first to ratify the two Optional Protocols to the ICCPR.


"In spite of the measures adopted to promote gender equality, the Committee is concerned by the significant salary gap between men and women as well as high female unemployment rates "


Prison overcrowding and detention

The interactive dialogue between the Cost Rican delegates and the Committee members covered a range of issues including prison overcrowding and incommunicado detention. The Costa Rica delegation described steps taken to reduce prison overcrowding without having to build new prisons, such as alternative measures to imprisonment, and the establishment of rehabilitation centres.

Reproductive rights and hate speech

The Committee questioned the Costa Rica delegation about sexual and reproductive rights, notably access to abortion and contraceptives, echoing concerns formulated by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights. There were additional discussions about Costa Rica’s refusal to allow the entry of a Nicaraguan humourist who was labelled as a potential threat to national security. The humourist should be able to exercise his right to freedom of expression, the Committee argued, to which the Costa Ricans responded that his shows could be assimilated to expressions of hate speech.

Indigenous rights

Committee members also raised several questions relating to the rights of indigenous peoples, including their right to land, non-discrimination, free, prior and informed consent, education and the specific situation of indigenous women.  Issues such as discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, people living with HIV-AIDS, migrants and asylum seekers, freedom of religion and child labour featured among the additional topics discussed during the review. Committee members noted on various occasions that Costa Rica had taken important steps to comply with the ICCPR, yet even greater effort was required to address the above mentioned issues.

The Concluding Observations for which the State should provide information on the implementation within one year, relate to:

  • Eradication of stereotypes and discrimination
  • Abortion
  • Rights of indigenous peoples

The next (7th) periodic report of Costa Rica should be submitted by March 2021.

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