Vol.19 No.0521 Tuesday Edition, May 21, 2019
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President Alvarado shakes hands with Joel Antonio Hernández representative of Costa Rica in the IACHR.
/ Presidential House courtesy

The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights arrives to review situation of indigenous community and Nicaraguans migrants

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A delegation from The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) met on Monday with President Carlos Alvarado, who requested a formal meeting on March 22, as result of the crime against the indigenous leader Sergio Rojas.

The group is headed by Commissioner Joel Antonio Hernández, who is the representative of  Costa Rica in the IACHR, also Jorge Humberto Meza, coordinator of the Precautionary Measures Section, and Fernanda Alves Dos Anjos, coordinator of the Monitoring Section of the Special Follow-up Mechanism for Nicaragua.

"Our expectation of this meeting is to understand the state of these two peoples (referring to indigenous communities and Nicaraguan migrants)  and the measures that the government must continue to guarantee the security and rights,"  said Hernandez commissioner of IACHR. "We are very pleased to be making this visit and very grateful to the president for having quickly sent an invitation to the Commission after the tragic events of March 18."

The meeting was attended by Alvarado among other government authorities.

President Alvarado said on the murder of indigenous leader Rojas, "the government helps with the authorities in order to clarify that."

"To the government, the meeting  with the IACHR is an important occasion to learn about the observations and suggestions of the Commission, with the objective of strengthening compliance with the precautionary measures in favor of the Bribri de Salitre and Teribe de Térraba people," said Juan Alfaro, Deputy Minister of the Presidency for Political Affairs and Citizen Dialogue.  "With this meeting, we renew our commitment to comply with the precautionary measure and the human rights of indigenous peoples."

On Monday, the delegation held two sessions of work: one to review the precautionary measures and the participation of government authorities, while the second will focus on the situation of Nicaraguan migrants in Costa Rica.

There is also a meeting with the Attorney General, Emilia Navas, with the goal of knowing the status of the investigation into the crime against Rojas.

On Tuesday, the Commission will meet with members of the indigenous community who are beneficiaries of the protection precautionary measures issued in 2015 by the Organization of American States, OAS.

These measures to protect the indigenous community were ordered as a result of threats from farmers and wood producers, who apparently try to cut down the trees and take the lands from indigenous territory.

On March 21, as A.M. Costa Rica reported,
President Alvarado condemned the assassination of indigenous leader Sergio Rojas, 59, at his home in the indigenous area of Salitre* in the province of Puntarenas.

"This is a tragic day for the Bribri people, for the indigenous peoples and for all of Costa Rica, " said President Alvarado. "We express our pain and indignation to the relatives and to all the Bribri people."

According to the police report, on Monday May 18th, at 9:15 p.m., a 9-1-1 call was received that in the Yeri sector of the Salitre* indigenous territory, in the Buenos Aires canton of Puntarenas. The caller stated that a series of shots had been heard. When the police arrived at the house, they identified the body of Sergio Rojas. He had been killed by multiple gunshots.

On hearing the news, the president asked the Minister of Security to do everything necessary to find those responsible and clarify the events as soon as possible.

In addition, the government said that it is providing protection for the victim’s relatives and has increased the police presence in the community.

The government report said that after the emergency call was received by the 9-1-1 operator they immediately activated the appropriate protocol and the precautionary measures requested by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights for several members of the indigenous community of Salitre.

The Public Ministry wishes to clarify false information being disseminated about the murder on social networks:

- The victim did not file any complaint, neither as an offended person nor as a witness, related to any land property case.

- He went to the Prosecutor's Office of Buenos Aires in Puntarenas, to accompany two people who filed a written complaint.

- Mr. Rojas has not made any complaint for threats or aggression or against his life.

- Mr. Rojas does not appear as a victim or as a witness in any complaint about threats.

- Based on the evidence collected so far, it has not been determined that the motive for murder is related to the complaint filed by the indigenous people who were accompanied by Mr. Rojas.
Mr. Sergio Rojas was a well-known indigenous leader of the Salitre area in Buenos Aires, Puntarenas and member of the National Coordination of the National Front of Indigenous Peoples.

Should The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights go to Nicaragua to support the victims of the crisis in that country?
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