Friday 3 February 2023

Cases of sexual abuse of tourists have Costa Rican authorities on alert

The Government promised to improve preventive measures

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3 February 2023 - At The Banks - BCCR

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QCOSTARICA – Two cases of sexual crimes against female tourists in the Caribbean of Costa Rica in the last two weeks the country’s authorities on alert, promising to strengthen surveillance and improve preventive protocols and care for victims.

The Instituto Nacional de las Mujeres (Inamu), the Instituto Costarricense de Turismo (ICT) and the Ministerio de Seguridad Publica MSP) – National Institute for Women, the Costa Rican Institute of Board and the Ministry of Security -, reported this Saturday of a case of rape of a foreign tourist in Playa Negra, in the province of Limón (Caribbean), added to another case that occurred the prior week in Puerto Viejo, also in Limón, against a European tourist.

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“We strongly condemn the unfortunate act of sexual violence against a tourist in Limón. For a woman who has been a victim of rape, narrating the event will always be a very difficult situation, which is why, from now on, together with other entities, we are guaranteeing the accompaniment of the victim, who was treated at a health center and received the medications indicated by the protocols in these cases,” reported Inamu.

The Women’s Institute affirmed that the authorities “will not rest so that the guilty person is judged with the full weight of the law, laying the responsibility on the perpetrator, as it should be” and stressed that “a rape will never be the fault of the victim”.

The Ministry of Security reported that it is carrying out operations to find the person responsible for the crime and that Minister Michael Soto will visit the Caribbean area later this week to meet with local authorities and evaluate the actions being implemented.

Women’s rights groups denounced the sexual assaults of the previous week, as well as what they consider poor attention by the authorities towards the victims.

Last week, a Guide to Good Practices for Tourism, published in June 2021 by the Inamu and ICT, circulated on social networks and the media and contained recommendations for women on how to dress, interact and behave.

The document was rejected by women’s organizations considering that it justifies violence against women and re-victimizes them.

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The document provides recommendations to women tourists such as “try to dress similar to the local to avoid attracting attention”, “avoid walking alone at night”, “maintain personal control” in case of drinking alcoholic beverages and “be careful with messages that a friendly or trusting attitude can generate.

The Government offered an apology to the women of the country and removed the guide from all platforms after the president, Carlos Alvarado, ordered its correction because “it contains statements totally out of place, in any context” and because “violence against women has no justification”.

The Government promised to improve preventive measures, the training of the authorities and the care protocols for victims in this country where tourism is one of the main engines of the economy.

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