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The Bribri indigenous people of Salitre, South of Costa Rica is suffering new episodes of harassment and their legitimate rights to this territory are being questioned again. With the new escalation of attacks, Bribri families have had their houses burnt down, in addition to being threatened and even physically assaulted in the past weeks. These events take place with police presence in the area, and under a valid precautionary measure issued by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights for the protection of the Bribri people.
In an interview with Real World Radio, Sergio Rojas, leader of the National Front of Indigenous Peoples (FRENAPI) of this country said that the State is not only not ensuring compliance of precautionary measures, but it is also facilitating harassment: “With the complicity of the police, they got into the house of a lady, they beat her and a boy. The police, instead of arresting the intruders, arrested indigenous people”.
Last Thursday, September 10, the Minister of Justice, Cecilia Sanchez, committed to carry out a dialogue process aiming to stop attacks. About this possibility, Rojas said: “If we understand that there will not be any real guarantees, then we will continue with our territorial reaffirmation process, at whatever cost”.
The recognition of the autonomy of indigenous people is one of their main demands in Costa Rica. For over 20 years, indigenous organizations have been exerting pressure to implement the Bill on Autonomous Development of Indigenous People (14,352), which has been stalled during this period of the Legislative Assembly.
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