6, January, 2015

Violations of Indigenous Peoples’ Territorial Rights: The Example of Costa Rica

This study explores the issues of widespread illegal occupation of indigenous lands on a national scale. Approximately 6000 non-indigenous persons are occupying at least 43% of the areas belonging exclusively to indigenous peoples.

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The study presents a comprehensive analysis of the multidimensional nature of the law regarding indigenous peoples’ lands, territories and resources, along with its relationship to their cultural integrity and survival. This is explored in detail with reference to three particular territories: China Kichá, Térraba and Salitre. In addition, the relationship between territorial rights and the right to self-government, self-representation, effective participation in decision-making and the legal personality of indigenous peoples is explained.

The authors examine the issues in the light of Costa Rica’s obligations under national legislation, as well as the country’s obligations under international law. Special attention is given to the case law of the Inter-American Commission and the Inter-American Court of Human Rights.

The study identifies specific actions for working towards a solution to the illegal occupation of indigenous lands in Costa Rica, and for allowing indigenous peoples full and effective enjoyment of their territories. Such actions are dependent on the willingness of the Costa Rican state.

Authors: Fergus MacKay and Alancay Morales Garro
Orginal publication date: February, 2014
Publisher: The Forest Peoples Programme

Click here to view the complete document in PDF format

Haga click aqui para ver el documento completo en formato PDF (versión española)



Other ELLA knowledge materials relating to Indigenous and Ethnic Minority Rights:





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