Does the Costa Rican government provide protection to all its citizens, regardless of the country they were born in? 1989-1990 [CRI5488]

As per our telephone conversation on 18 June 1990, please find attached a copy of the section on Individual Rights and Guarantees of the Constitution of Costa Rica, as published in Constitutions of the Countries of the World: Costa Rica, (New York: Oceana Publications, Inc., 1982). Article 33 states that "[a]ll persons are equal before the law and no discrimination may be made against human dignity".

The Embassy of Costa Rica in Ottawa stated in a telephone communication with the IRBDC on 19 June 1990 that all citizens of Costa Rica, regardless of their country of birth, enjoy the same rights and guarantees in Costa Rica. Foreigners residing in Costa Rica under a permanent residence or immigrant's visa enjoy the same rights and guarantees as citizens, but are not allowed to vote.

Reports on the Costa Rican government neglecting protection for those Costa Rican citizens who were born abroad could not be found among the sources currently available to the IRBDC. The only recent reference to some form of discrimination in Costa Rica was found in the Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 1989 (Washington: U.S. Department of State, 1990), p. 522, which indicates that in 1989 there were "some problems of de facto, not de jure, discrimination against women, blacks, and Indians". However, no specific reference to lack of legal or government protection and/or guarantees for these or other individuals could be found in the report. The same source adds in page 523 that "access to [legal] counsel is guaranteed and honoured in practice".

Regarding the current or recent human rights situation in Costa Rica, the book Costa Rica: A Country Guide (Albuquerque: Inter-Hemispheric Education Resource Centre, 1989), p. 21, gives the following summary:

"With the ascent of the Central America Peace Plan and international attention focused on President Arias, the human-rights climate in Costa Rica improved noticeably. CODEHU (Human Rights Committee of Costa Rica) noted that Costa Ricans could, for the first time, talk about human-rights problems without being labelled "unpatriotic". Police roundups were suspended and arbitrary detentions by immigration authorities became less frequent. Nonetheless, CODEHU charged that the broadly defined human rights of Costa Ricans were being violated daily. In addition to the deteriorating state of prisoner rights, the organization pointed to such continuing problems as: the lack of freedom of expression due to rightwing control of the media, the government's failure to honour workers' collective-bargaining rights, the worsening economic situation for the poor, the government's failure to guarantee the basic needs of its citizens, and the repression of campesino and worker organizations, particularly in rural areas."