Violations of indigenous peoples' territorial rights: the example of Costa Rica

Violations of indigenous peoples' territorial rights: the example of Costa Rica

Costa Rica, the subject of this article, is an upper middle income country that is widely regarded as having a generally positive human rights record. It has also avoided the violent conflicts and political instability that have characterised most of its closest neighbours in the last decades of the 20th century. However, as with almost all other countries considered to have good track records on human rights, the situation of indigenous peoples stands out as a major blemish.

This is especially the case when the complex of rights that are interdependent with indigenous peoples’ territorial rights is considered. This article details the history, legal background and current status of this situation in Costa Rica as well as the relevant international human rights law. Particular attention is paid to the jurisprudence of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and the Inter-American Court of Human Rights.

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