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The Ngäbes are an indigenous people native to Costa Rica and Panama. More than 70 years ago they saw their ancestral territory divided by the border between these two countries.
The Ngäbes are an Indigenous people native to Costa Rica and Panama. More than 70 years ago, they saw their ancestral territory divided by the border between these two countries.

UN calls for guaranteed access to land for Indigenous people in Costa Rica

Within the framework of the International Day of Indigenous Peoples, the organization advocated for land rights in the Central American country.

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The United Nation's recently expressed concern for Costa Rica due to the tensions that arise in some regions because of non-compliance with laws that establish Indigenous land. Some 3,300 square kilometers, or 7% of the country's total land, is set aside for Indigenous peoples, but more than a third of people living in those lands are not Indigenous.

"To overcome the challenges, it is essential to ensure the implementation of the National Plan for the Recovery of Indigenous Territories, as well as to guarantee the necessary protection measures to safeguard the integrity of indigenous leaders threatened for defending their lands, territories and resources," said the UN in a recent press release.

Among the rights highlighted by the organization are the guarantee of self-determination, as well as secure tenure of their lands; free, prior and informed consultation; protection of human rights defenders; prompt, effective and culturally relevant justice; and access to basic services and development opportunities.

"We reiterate our priority to work tirelessly to support the country in fulfilling the 2030 Agenda so that no Indigenous person is left behind, and we insist that to overcome many of the challenges faced by these peoples, we need to break down all barriers that impede the free enjoyment of the rights of indigenous peoples," read the UN press release.

In addition, the UN highlighted that there are some challenges that are essential to address, such as deprivation and lack of access to services and opportunities that affect children, adolescents and youth the most.

According to official data from the National Institute of Statistics and Census, 70% of Indigenous households have unmet basic needs in essential areas such as health, education and housing.

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