costa rica country report

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For example, asylum seekers without employers (who constituted the majority of asylum seekers) faced restrictions when enrolling voluntarily as independent workers in the public health system. The reformed labor code also strengthens protections for labor union members, including protections against discrimination based on labor affiliation and special protections via special expedited proceedings. See the Department of State’s International Religious Freedom Report at https://www.state.gov/religiousfreedomreport/. The killing of two female tourists on August 4 caused authorities on August 7 to declare the reduction of violence against women as a “national priority” not only to raise awareness, but also to implement coordinated actions among public institutions in areas with a higher incidence of violence. Physical Conditions: As of July the prison population exceeded the designed capacity of prisons by 37 percent, according to official statistics. Although there is no statutory prohibition against compulsory overtime, the labor code stipulates the workday may not exceed 12 hours, except in the agricultural sector when there is “imminent risk of harm…to the harvest” when work cannot be suspended and workers cannot be substituted. While the Ministry of Labor is responsible for enforcing and taking administrative actions against possible violations of, or lack of compliance with, child labor laws, the Prosecutor’s Office intervenes in cases regarding the worst forms of child labor. The law assigns responsibility to the employer, including granting OSH officers access to workplaces, but it also authorizes workers to seek assistance from appropriate authorities (OSH or labor inspectors) for noncompliance with OSH workplace standards, including risks at work. The law entitles a detainee to a judicial determination of the legality of detention during arraignment before a judge within 24 hours of arrest. Freedom to Participate in the Political Process, Section 4. The constitution prohibits such practices. Members of the Ngobe-Bugle indigenous group from Panama often worked on Costa Rican farms and occasionally gave birth there. Costa Rica rates 12th on the 2017 Happy Planet Index in the World Happiness Report by the UN but the country is said to be the happiest in Latin America. Respect for Civil Liberties, Including: b. According to INEC, in 2016 the poverty line was 107,769 colones ($189) in urban areas and 82,950 colones ($145) in rural areas. The law requires that women and men receive equal pay for equal work. Criminal penalties range from 10 to 100 days in prison for aggravated threats and up to 35 years in prison for aggravated homicide, including a sentence of 20 to 35 years for persons who kill their partners. The government effectively enforced these laws and regulations, and penalties were sufficient to deter violations. Judicial authorities investigated the death of a five-year-old minor who died of internal bleeding caused by parental abuse on May 9. IMF Country Report No. The Labor Inspection Office implemented related actions to the labor code during the first six months of the year, including a new organizational structure, training for staff, and systematization of processes. Discrimination against persons based on sexual orientation and gender identity is prohibited by a series of executive orders and workplace policies but not by national laws. The government investigated, prosecuted, and punished police responsible for confirmed cases of abuse. The law imposes penalties ranging from a letter of reprimand to dismissal, with more serious incidents subject to criminal prosecution. The Labor Ministry’s National Council of Occupational Health and Safety is a tripartite OSH regulatory authority with government, employer, and employee representation. Independent Monitoring: The government permitted independent monitoring of prison conditions by international and local human rights observers. Financial Disclosure: Public officials are subject to financial disclosure laws that require senior officials to submit sworn declarations of income, assets, and liabilities. The wage council of the Ministry of Labor sets the minimum wage scale for the public and private sectors twice a year. The government maintains a dedicated authority to enforce occupational safety and health (OSH) standards. Costa Rica has made great strides converging towards OECD living standards, but significant vulnerabilities persist, mainly from the weak fiscal position and sizable FX lending to unhedged borrowers. Child Abuse: The autonomous National Institute for Children reported violence against children and adolescents continued to be a concern, but there was no increase in the number of cases of child violence or abuse. The crime carries a penalty of up to three years in prison for an adult having sex with a person under age 15, or under 18 if the age difference is more than five years. The crime carries a penalty of up to three years in prison for an adult having sex with a person under age 15, or under 18 if the age difference is more than five years. The government had not taken concrete steps to combat discrimination based on HIV/AIDS status despite having adopted a National Strategic Plan on HIV and AIDS (2016-21). On July 16, Chief Justice Carlos Chinchilla requested his early retirement after the full Supreme Court suspended him, together with two associate justices and a substitute justice of the Criminal Appeals High Court, for inappropriate dismissal of the “Cementazo” case. The constitution provides for freedom of expression, including for the press, and the government generally respected this right. The government effectively enforced these laws and regulations, and penalties were sufficient to deter violations. The current deadlock between political parties prevents the government from implementing necessary fiscal measures. The law requires issuance of judicial warrants before making arrests, except where probable cause is evident to the arresting officer. Costa Rica is not on the FATF List of Countries that have been identified as having strategic AML deficiencies . The law provides criminal penalties for corruption by officials, and the government generally implemented the law effectively. Costa Rica is one of the most stable and democratic countries in Central America. On August 12, a special committee of the National Assembly recommended the Solicitor’s Office reopen the investigations related to a report submitted to the National Assembly in 2018 exonerating former president Solis. WorldCat Home About WorldCat Help. Penalties were sufficient to deter violations, although the government did not enforce these standards effectively in either the formal or the informal sectors. Prison overcrowding made security and control difficult and contributed to health problems. The Supreme Elections Tribunal took measures (voting procedures, facilities, materials, and trained personnel) to provide for fully accessible elections for all persons with disabilities. Country Summary: While petty crime is the predominant threat for tourists in Costa Rica, violent crime, including armed robbery, homicide and sexual assault, occurs in Costa Rica. Penalties were not sufficient to deter violations, in light of the lengthy process to resolve cases. In some cases delays were due to pending criminal investigations and lengthy legal procedures. The length of pretrial detention generally did not equal or exceed the maximum sentence for the alleged crime. Both entities may coexist and share membership with labor unions. The law also permits two other types of worker organizations unique to the country: “solidarity associations,” legal entities recognized by the constitution that have both management and employee membership and serve primarily to administer funds for severance payments; and “permanent committees,” enterprise-level bodies made up of three workers elected to negotiate “direct agreements” with employers. Various industrial and processed agricultural products have broadened exports in recent years, as have high value-added goods, including medical devices. Freedom in the World — Costa Rica Country Report Costa Rica is rated Free in Freedom in the World, Freedom House's annual study of political rights and civil liberties worldwide. The Ministry of Labor generally enforced minimum wages effectively in the San Jose area but less effectively in rural areas, particularly where large numbers of migrants were employed, and in the large informal sector, which comprised 44 percent of employment as of August. Abuse by prison police was a recurring complaint, according to the Ombudsman’s Office, but very few of the accusers followed through and registered their complaints with the authorities. The constitution prohibits such practices, but there were isolated reports that government officials employed degrading practices. The DNI stated it could visit any employer, formal or informal, and inspections were always unannounced. Government authorities worked together with UNHCR on a program of birth registration and provision of identification documents to stateless persons known as “Chiriticos.” Mobile teams went to remote coffee-growing areas for case identification and registration. Observers expressed concern about exploitative working conditions in fisheries, small businesses, and agricultural activities. Costa Rica country report.. [PRS Group. In these cases parents did not register Ngobe-Bugle children as Costa Rican citizens at birth because they did not think it necessary, although the children lacked registration in Panama as well. As with other labor laws, the authority to sanction employers for infractions lies solely with the judiciary, and the law requires labor inspectors to initiate legal cases with the judiciary after exhausting the administrative process. In these cases parents did not register Ngobe-Bugle children as Costa Rican citizens at birth because they did not think it necessary, although the children lacked registration in Panama as well. The labor code prohibits discrimination based on age, ethnicity, gender, religion, race, sexual orientation, civil status, political opinion, nationality, social status, affiliation, disability, labor union membership, or economic situation. Corporations use Country Report to analyse and develop entry strategies for Costa Rica, as well as keep abreast of international developments. The ILO noted no trade unions operated in the country’s export-processing zones and identified the zones as a hostile environment for organizing. The constitution and law prohibit discrimination against persons with physical, sensory, intellectual, or mental disabilities. The OSH standards are appropriate for the main industries in the country, per the National Council of Occupational Safety and Health. The law prohibits solidarity associations from representing workers in collective bargaining negotiations or in any other way that assumes the functions or inhibits the formation of trade unions. Corruption and Lack of Transparency in Government, Section 5. The law, however, adds that even if there is no union at the enterprise or if the union lacks the support of 50 percent of the workforce, a strike may be initiated if 35 percent of the workers call for a vote, by secret ballot. On April 10, the National Assembly removed Associate Justice Celso Gamboa from the bench by a majority vote for interfering with judicial cases related to the cement importer. The Ministry of Justice’s Social Adaptation Division reported 13 deaths in closed regime centers as of August 21. Government officials were often cooperative and responsive to their views. A special committee of the National Assembly studies and reports on problems relating to the violation of human rights, and it also reviews bills relating to human rights and international humanitarian law. Land ownership continued to be a problem in most indigenous territories. The law sets workday hours, overtime remuneration, days of rest, and annual vacation rights. UNHCR provided support to the Refugee Unit and the Appeals Tribunal to hire additional legal and administrative personnel to assist with reduction of the backlog. The three accounts will make important contributions to inform national plans and policy design. Poor conditions included inadequate space for resting, deteriorated mattresses on the floor, and inadequate access to health services. On April 1, voters elected Carlos Alvarado of the Citizen’s Action Party (PAC) as president during a second round of elections. The law restricts the right to strike for workers in services designated as essential by the government, including in sectors such as oil refineries and ports that are not recognized as essential services under international standards. Sexual Harassment: The law prohibits sexual harassment in the workplace and educational institutions, and the Ministry of Labor and Social Security generally enforced this prohibition. The government identified child sex tourism as a serious problem. Forced child labor reportedly occurred in some service sectors, such as construction, fishing, street vending, and domestic service, and some children were subject to commercial sexual exploitation (see section 6, Children). The government did not effectively enforce the law. Respect for Civil Liberties, Including: a. Illegal narcotics were readily available in the prisons, and drug abuse was common. The law requires authorities to process the claims within three months of receipt, but decisions took an average of 14 months and an additional 12 months for the appeals process. To the extent that solidarity associations and permanent committees displaced trade unions, they affected the independence of workers’ organizations from employers’ influence and infringed on the right to organize and bargain collectively. Defendants may confront prosecution or plaintiff witnesses and present witnesses and evidence on their own behalf. Freedom of association and collective bargaining were generally respected. The law requires employers to initiate the bargaining process with a trade union if more than one-third of the total workforce, including union and nonunion members, requests collective bargaining, but the law also permits direct bargaining agreements with nonunionized workers. Administrative and judicial remedies for alleged wrongs are available to the public. Improvements: In June the Ministry of Justice agreed to expedite urgent requests for prisoners to obtain an electronic bracelet monitor, which normally could take several months. The National Civil Registry appointed a permanent officer in the regional offices of Coto Brus, Talamanca, and Tarrazu to provide follow-up services. Monthly minimum wages were above the poverty line. Country data report for Costa Rica, 1996-2014 Type: Working Paper Report#: 105435 Date: September 15, 2015 The health workforce in Latin America and the Caribbean : an analysis of Colombia, Costa Rica, Jamaica, Panama, Peru, and Uruguay The process of fining companies or compelling employers to pay back wages or overtime has traditionally been subject to lengthy delays. The judicial branch generally enforced the law. Although the law mandates access to buildings for persons with disabilities, the government did not enforce this provision, and many buildings remained inaccessible to persons with disabilities. The child and adolescence code prohibits labor of all children younger than age 15 without exceptions, including the worst forms of child labor; it supersedes the minimum working age of 12 established in the labor code. Defendants have the right not to be compelled to testify or confess guilt. Refugees by country of origin (thousands) n.a. Penalties were sufficient to deter violations. As a result, female legislators held 26 of the 57 seats in the National Assembly. Located in the north central part of the country, Arenal Volcano is one of Costa Rica's scenic wonders. Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization, Office of the U.S. Authorities arrested the perpetrator. A number of domestic and international human rights groups generally operated without government restriction, investigating and publishing their findings on human rights cases. Amid violent land disputes between indigenous inhabitants and nonindigenous persons, in March two unknown assailants killed indigenous leader Sergio Rojas, who had fought for restoring indigenous lands. The Labor Ministry reported seven cases of discrimination from January to June. As of August migration authorities reported receiving 22,639 asylum claims, of which 18,170 were Nicaraguans, 1,586 Venezuelans, 933 Salvadorans, 777 Colombians, and 589 Cubans, among others. The constitution prohibits such actions, and there were no reports the government failed to respect these prohibitions. The Ombudsman’s Office increased its efforts to engage with indigenous communities in the wake of Rojas’ murder. In some instances employers fired employees who attempted to unionize. The court’s decision also ratified the ceiling of 12 years for severance pay when an employee is terminated. UNHCR provided support to the Refugee Unit and the Appeals Tribunal to hire additional legal and administrative personnel to assist with reduction of the backlog. Pretrial Detention: Lengthy pretrial detention was a problem. Also see the Department of Labor’s Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor and List of Goods Produced by Child Labor or Forced Labor at https://www.dol.gov/agencies/ilab/resources/reports/child-labor/findings . Recent Elections: In April 2018 voters elected PAC’s Carlos Alvarado president during a second round of elections, after no candidate achieved 40 percent of the first-round vote. Special circumstances include cases in which pretrial detention previously was ordered and there is reason to believe a suspect may reach an agreement with accomplices or may obstruct the investigation. Several generations may live in the same house. Costa Rica is a constitutional republic governed by a president and a unicameral legislative assembly directly elected in multiparty elections every four years. On July 29, a judge ordered that the UAI, inaugurated two years earlier in Alajuela, was overcrowded and could not receive more detainees. The Immigration Office is responsible for the immigration police. While the law establishes sanctions (fines and fees) for infractions, only the judiciary has the authority to apply such sanctions. The mechanism recognizes the duty of the government to obtain prior and informed consent for large-scale development projects affecting indigenous communities but does not give them veto power. According to the Ombudsman’s Office, however, the country lacked the legal framework to ensure adequate mechanisms to combat discrimination, facilitate the adoption of affirmative action for individuals who suffer discrimination, and establish sanctions for those who commit discriminatory acts. The volcano was dormant for hundreds of years until it suddenly erupted in 1968. In partnership with UNHCR, on April 23, the government awarded “Living Integration” certifications to 20 public and private organizations to help refugees and asylum seekers earn a livelihood. Costa Rica 2019 Crime & Safety Report The current U.S. Department of State Travel Advisory at the date of this report’s publication assesses Costa Rica at Level 1, indicating travelers should exercise normal precautions. In legislative elections, the National Liberation Party (PLN) gained the most seats, but it did not achieve majority in the National Assembly. The Labor Ministry reported 13 cases of discrimination from January to June. The government continued to implement programming to eliminate illegal child labor and the worst forms of child labor by providing individual assistance through visits, interviews, and inspections to schools and workplaces. See the Department of State’s Trafficking in Persons Report at https://www.state.gov/trafficking-in-persons-report/. On May 17, President Alvarado signed two directives aimed at strengthening protections in public-sector employment for LGBTI populations. According to the Labor Ministry, this is a responsibility shared by the employer and employee. Early in the year, workers from a private pineapple-producing company organized a labor strike urging their employer to comply with basic labor laws, including paying minimum wage and recognizing their right to unionize. Prohibition of Forced or Compulsory Labor, c. Prohibition of Child Labor and Minimum Age for Employment, d. Discrimination with Respect to Employment and Occupation, https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/International-Parental-Child-Abduction/for-providers/legal-reports-and-data.html. Special circumstances include cases in which pretrial detention previously was ordered and there is reason to believe a suspect may reach an agreement with accomplices or may obstruct the investigation. The ministry implemented a gender-equality perspective into labor inspections to identify areas of vulnerability. Habeas corpus provides legal protection for citizens against threats from police; it also requires judges to give a clear explanation of the legal basis for detention of and evidence against a suspect. You can add more than one country or area. The law prohibits domestic violence and provides measures for the protection of domestic violence victims. The law provides that workers be paid for overtime work at a rate 50 percent above their stipulated wage or salary. The government was committed to local integration of refugees both legally and socially and to facilitating their naturalization process. Authorities held male pretrial detainees with convicted prisoners on occasion. On May 1, the governing PAC formed a coalition with four other parties–the PLN, Social Christian Unity Party (PUSC), Broad Front, and Republican Social Christian Party–to gain control of the presidency of the legislature for one year. The worst forms of child labor occurred in agriculture on small third-party farms in the formal sector and on family farms in the informal sector. During the February national elections, the Organization of American States Observation Mission lauded the country for facilitating voting for seniors and persons with disabilities, including accessible voting booths and technological tools to promote participation in the electoral process. The Economist Group © The Economist Intelligence Unit Limited. The constitution prohibits such actions, and there were no reports the government failed to respect these prohibitions. Although public-sector employees are permitted to bargain collectively, the Supreme Court held that some fringe benefits received by certain public employees were disproportionate and unreasonable, and it repealed sections of collective bargaining agreements between public-sector unions and government agencies, thus restricting this right in practice. This year’s report contains updates on food additives regulations, pesticide registration, and a new section on trade facilitation. The laws and regulations prohibit discrimination regarding race, color, sex, religion, political opinion, national origin or citizenship, social origin, disability, sexual orientation or gender identity, age, language, HIV-positive status, or other communicable diseases status. Western Hemisphere, Costa Rica This report outlines Costa Rica’s requirements for food and agricultural product imports. Government Human Rights Bodies: The Ombudsman’s Office reviews government action or inaction that affects citizens’ rights and interests. The law provides for sentences of two to 10 years in prison for statutory rape and three to eight years in prison for child pornography. Labor unions reported overtime pay violations, such as nonpayment of wages and mandatory overtime, were common in the private sector and particularly in export-processing zones and agriculture. The child and adolescence code prohibits labor of all children under the age of 15 without exceptions, including the worst forms of child labor; it supersedes the minimum working age of 12 established in the labor code. Costa Rica: FAIRS Country Report. Officials are required to file a declaration annually and upon entering and leaving office. The law prohibits and criminalizes all forms of forced or compulsory labor. In 2018 legislative elections, the National Liberation Party (PLN) gained the most seats, but it did not achieve majority in the National Assembly. The law provides for sentences of two to 10 years in prison for statutory rape and three to eight years in prison for child pornography. The law prohibits solidarity associations from representing workers in collective bargaining negotiations or in any other way that assumes the functions or inhibits the formation of trade unions. Section 2. In some instances, employers fired employees who attempted to unionize. Displaced university students who had fled Nicaragua due to harassment for their political opposition activities reported difficulty registering for classes because Costa Rican institutions were inflexible in requiring academic records that they could not obtain from Nicaraguan authorities. In July a former presidential candidate made an anti-Semitic comment in a video against the Jewish owner of an online daily newspaper. Sexual Harassment: The law prohibits sexual harassment in the workplace and educational institutions, and the Ministry of Labor and Social Security generally enforced this prohibition. The government respected these rights. The government effectively enforced the law. There continued to be problems of statelessness of indigenous children and children of seasonal workers in the border areas with Panama and Nicaragua derived from the difficulties linked to birth registrations. The Labor Ministry generally addressed complaints by sending inspection teams to investigate and coordinate with each other on follow-up actions. The labor code stipulates that at least 50 percent of the workers in an enterprise must vote to support a strike. There were reports that agricultural workers, particularly migrant laborers in the pineapple industry, worked in unsafe conditions, including exposure to hazardous chemicals without proper training. The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) monitored the migration detention facility, and the government ombudsman monitored all other detention centers, with UNHCR visiting monthly and the ombudsman preparing annual reports. The amount of fines and fees is determined by the severity of the infraction and is based on an equation derived from the minimum wage. The project is funded by the Open Society Institute (OSI) and APC and coordinated by Derechos Digitales. The consultative mechanism consists of an eight-step process for gathering input from indigenous communities, from project inception through final monitoring. In February the Judicial Investigative Organization (OIJ), the principal investigative law enforcement agency, recognized prison overcrowding as a problem. The country was a destination for child sex tourism. 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