Tuesday 28 September 2021

Costa Rica In Push To Give Identity Cards to Indigenous

Paying the bills

Latest

Vaccination against covid-19 will be mandatory for public employees

QCOSTARICA - Vaccination against covid-19 will be mandatory for...

Businesses will lose permits on third violation due to parties or capacity

QCOSTARICA - The Ministry of Health announced this Tuesday...

Vehicle restrictions to continue to October 15

QCOSTARICA - This Tuesday afternoon the government announced that...

Panama will vaccinate tourists

Q24N - Non-immunized tourists visiting Panama will receive the...

End of 2021 would be the beginning of a “good” high season in tourism

QCOSTARICA - The end of 2021 would mark the...

Costa Rica 4th Latin American country best prepared to develop high-impact ventures

QCOSTARICA - Costa Rica is the fourth best ecosystem...

CCSS applied 195,598 first doses of vaccine against covid-19 during the Vaccination

QCOSTARICA - The vaccination teams of the Caja Costarricense...
Paying the bills

Share

In this 2004 file photo, an indigenous Panamain Guaymi, 13-year-old Celia Montero, harvests coffee at a plantation in Cirri de Naranjo, 40 miles the north of San Jose. REUTERS/Juan Carlos Ulate JCU
In this 2004 file photo, an indigenous Panamain Guaymi, 13-year-old Celia Montero, harvests coffee at a plantation in Cirri de Naranjo, 40 miles the north of San Jose. REUTERS/Juan Carlos Ulate JCU

QCOSTARICA (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – When Reynaldo Miranda was born in Costa Rica in the 1980s, no birth certificate was issued. He grew up without an identity card but did not consider his lack of official identity a problem until he applied for a school scholarship and got sick.

Like many among the Ngobe Bugle indigenous group, Miranda’s parents were born in neighouring Panama, and had crossed into Costa Rica looking for seasonal work in coffee plantations.

- Advertisement -

Over the decades, many ended up settling in Costa Rica, and their children, known locally as Chiriticos, have been born and raised in the Central American nation.

“My parents never registered our births. They didn’t really know about this. It’s not something done in our culture. They didn’t have any identity documents either,” Miranda, now 28, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation in a phone interview.

“This became a problem when I tried to apply for a scholarship to continue studying at school but without a birth certificate I couldn’t get one and I had to drop out of school.”

Without the certificate proving he was born in Costa Rica, Miranda found it difficult to get an identity card, and in turn could not register the birth of his own two children.

“Without an identity card, you don’t have any rights,” said Miranda, a coffee picker.

“You need a identity card for everything. Without it, I couldn’t get the medicine and medical care I needed and any social welfare benefits.”

- Advertisement -

The lack of an official document proving their country of birth puts people at risk of statelessness, the U.N. refugee agency (UNHCR) said.

Stateless people, sometimes referred to as legal ghosts, are not recognised as citizens by any country, which means they are denied basic rights.

Indigenous groups are particularly at risk of being stateless because traditionally they do not register the births of their children and women often give birth in remote areas instead of in state hospitals, the UNHCR says.

Local authorities estimate up to 8,000 members of the Ngobe Bugle tribe, along with children born in Costa Rica to migrant workers from neighouring Nicaragua, lack any type of documents.

- Advertisement -

MOBILE TEAMS

As part of a drive to eradicate the risk of statelessness in Costa Rica, mobile teams are travelling around the countryside, particularly during coffee harvest time, to identify indigenous families and their children who do not have birth certificates.

Often this involves officials going from door-to-door, from coffee farm to coffee farm.

“Ensuring people have birth certificates is a key prevention against statelessness. An undetermined nationality creates a risk of statelessness,” said Marcela Rodriguez-Farrelly, UNHCR’s protection officer in Costa Rica.

“This is an invisible situation. If you don’t have a birth certificate, you can’t access your rights,” she said.

Since the programme spearheaded by the UNHCR and state authorities in Costa Rica and Panama started in late 2014, around 5,000 people, mostly from the Ngobe Bugle tribe, have received birth certificates.

Many have gone on to get identity cards, including Miranda and his family.

“We now exist. We now have rights,” he said.

Elsewhere in Latin America, the biggest stateless population is found in the Dominican Republic.

Around 200,000 Dominican-born people of Haitian descent are stateless in the Dominican Republic, following a 2013 ruling by the country’s constitutional court that threw into question their citizenship, the UNHCR says.

Worldwide there are around 10 million stateless people, the UNHCR estimates, with many found in Nepal, Myanmar and Thailand, and more than a third of the world’s stateless are children.

By Anastasia Moloney, editing by Ros Russell.

news.trust.org

- Advertisement -
Paying the bills
Q24N
Q24N is an aggregator of news for Latin America. Reports from Mexico to the tip of Chile and Caribbean are sourced for our readers to find all their Latin America news in one place.

Related Articles

Vaccination against covid-19 will be mandatory for public employees

QCOSTARICA - Vaccination against covid-19 will be mandatory for all public...

Businesses will lose permits on third violation due to parties or capacity

QCOSTARICA - The Ministry of Health announced this Tuesday that it...

Subscribe to our stories

To be updated with all the latest news, offers and special announcements.

Log In

Forgot password?

Forgot password?

Enter your account data and we will send you a link to reset your password.

Your password reset link appears to be invalid or expired.

Log in

Privacy Policy

Add to Collection

No Collections

Here you'll find all collections you've created before.