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UN expert on indigenous peoples’ rights to visit Costa Rica


GENEVA (3 December 2021) – The UN Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples, Francisco Cali-Tzay, will carry out an official country visit to Costa Rica from 6 to 17 December 2021.

“I will study consultation processes established to seek the free, prior and informed consent of indigenous peoples before adopting and implementing legislative or administrative measures or projects affecting their lands, territories and resources,” Cali-Tzay said.

“While in Costa Rica, I will also pay attention to concerns raised that indigenous rights defenders are being threatened and attacked.”

The UN expert will examine a diverse range of issues affecting indigenous peoples, including self-governance, land rights, environment and climate change, human rights defenders, rights of indigenous women and children, indigenous people with disabilities and the impacts of COVID.

Cali-Tzay will meet Government and State officials, indigenous organisations, civil society, academics and UN representatives. He will also visit several indigenous communities to receive information first-hand and discuss their priorities and concerns.

The Special Rapporteur will hold a news conference to share his preliminary findings and recommendations at 10:00 on 17 December 2021 at the hotel Hilton Garden Inn San José La Sabana. Access to the conference is limited to accredited journalists, who must register in advance (see information below).

The UN expert will present his final report to the Human Rights Council in September 2022. 


José Francisco Cali Tzay (Guatemala) is the Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples. He is Maya Kaqchikel from Guatemala, with experience in defending the rights of indigenous peoples, both in Guatemala and at the level of the United Nations and the OAS. He was a member of the Presidential Commission against Discrimination and Racism against Indigenous Peoples in Guatemala (CODISRA) and was the President of the Committee for the Elimination of all forms of Racial Discrimination.

The Special Rapporteurs are part of what is known as the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council. Special Procedures, the largest body of independent experts in the UN Human Rights system, is the general name of the Council’s independent fact-finding and monitoring mechanisms that address either specific country situations or thematic issues in all parts of the world. Special Procedures’ experts work on a voluntary basis; they are not UN staff and do not receive a salary for their work. They are independent from any government or organization and serve in their individual capacity.

See the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

UN Human Rights, Country Page – Costa Rica

To register for the press conference in San José, please contact Danilo Mora (+506 8834 3028/ danilo.mora@one.un.org)

For further inquiries and media requests, please contact Maria Garcia Torrente (+41 79 444 4702 / maria.garciatorrente@un.org) and write to ohchr-indigenous@un.org

For media inquiries related to other UN independent experts please contact: Jeremy Laurence, UN Human Rights – Media Unit (+41 22 917 9383 / jeremy.laurence@un.org)

Follow news related to the UN's independent human rights experts on Twitter@UN_SPExperts

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