Costa Rica struggles with indigenous land rights

An indigenous rights issue has put Costa Rica’s much-vaunted human rights record to the test as the country struggles to protect members of the Bribrí and Teribe indigenous communities from non-indigenous people who have forcibly, and at times violently, removed them from indigenous ancestral lands.

In late September a group of Bribrí and Teribe leaders complained that the government failed to consult them before putting into place “precautionary measures” ordered last April by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. The measures included increased police presence in communities in and around the village of Salitre on the southern Pacific slope of the Talamanca Mountains, the scene of violence directed at the indigenous communities.

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