Costa Rica

Costa Rica - Prison overcrowding and migration issues to be resolved

During its 78th session on 1-2 November 2023, the CAT examined Costa Rica’s third periodic report. Thecountry’s rapporteurs were Mr. Claude Heller and Ms. Naoko Maeda.

The delegation was led by Mr. Christian Guillermet Fernandez, Permanent Representative of Costa Rica to theUnited Nations in Geneva.

Main issues discussed:

The CAT experts congratulated Costa Rica for its implementation of the Convention Against Torture. The experts stated that Costa Rica sets an example for other countries in the Americas.

Yet, the CAT experts raised concerns regarding the high rates of prison overcrowding in the country, questioning the excessive use of preventive detention. The experts argued that the unnecessary use of preventive detention led to prison overcrowding. The CAT experts also inquired about the implementation of alternative measures that can alleviate the prison overcrowding issue while enhancing Costa Rica’s judicial system.

The CAT questioned which measures have been taken to manage the rising flows of migrants in the country. The CAT acknowledges that massive flows of migrants crossing through Costa Rica from south to north represent a challenge to Costa Rica’s institutions, but the experts expressed the importance of respecting human rights and legal fundamental safeguards for the migrant population. The experts asked about the security and administrative procedures at the border checkpoints and if the Migration Police have training regarding the treatment of migrants-in-movement and human rights.

The CAT recommendations are available here

Follow-up recommendations:

The State party should provide information by 24 November 2024 on the implementation of recommendations regarding:

  • Preventive detention
  • Conditions of detention
  • Judicial investigations of acts of torture and ill-treatment

Watch here (part one and part two) the dialogue of the Costa Rica Delegation with the CAT.

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