Tuesday 28 September 2021

“Costa Rica violated the human rights of residents who wanted to enter the country”: BLP firm lawyer

"International treaties are above the law and in terms of human rights they are at the level of the Constitution"

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(QCOSTARICA) Denying the entry of people with valid legal residence, even if they are foreigners, is a violation of Article 22 of the American Convention on Human Rights, says David Gutiérrez, a law specialist at BLP.

“International treaties are above the law and in terms of human rights they are at the level of the Constitution,” said David Gutiérrez, of the BLP firm. Courtesy BLP / La República

The specialist was referring to the rejection of the foreign residents to Costa Rica on the first commercial flight from the United States for being delinquent for more than three months with the Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social (CCSS).

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In an interview with La Republica, Gutiérrez considers that the measure is drastic and detrimental to the economic reactivation of the country.

LR: Did the country commit a human rights violation with this case?

DG: Definitely. There is an international treaty, the American Convention on Human Rights, which is ironically called the “Pact of San José” that establishes the right of movement and residence in its article 22 (see below).

International treaties are above the law and in terms of human rights they are at the level of the Constitution, so, in this case, no one can be deprived of entering a country where they have a legal residence.

The exercise of these rights of movement and residence cannot be restricted if it is not by virtue of a law. From a legal point of view, we did a shocking outrage.

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LP: Is it excessive to restrict the entry of people because they are delinquent with the Caja?

DG: Whoever is delinquent with social security to pay it, I am not against that. However, ideally, a collection process is notified for this person in arrears. Not letting him or her in just for this is outrageous.

I understand that legal residents who were not allowed in due to delinquency were allowed to catch up on debts; However, if the debt was more than three months old, their personal presence was required at the Caja’s offices.

LP: What consequences can such a measure have for the country?

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DG: The first is business, for GOD, we are trying to reactivate the economy and we give us the luxury of closing the doors to someone who has investments in the country.

And secondly, those affected can request compensation for the cost of the trip and any other damages that the situation described has caused them.

Article 22. Freedom of Movement and Residence of the AMERICAN CONVENTION ON HUMAN RIGHTS “PACT OF SAN JOSE, COSTA RICA“, adopted at San Jose, Costa Rica on November 22, 1969, and entered into force on July 18, 1978.

  1. Every person lawfully in the territory of a State Party has the right to move about in it, and to reside in it subject to the provisions of the law.

  2. Every person has the right lo leave any country freely, including his own.

  3. The exercise of the foregoing rights may be restricted only pursuant to a law to the extent necessary in a democratic society to prevent crime or to protect national security, public safety, public order, public morals, public health, or the rights or freedoms of others.

  4. The exercise of the rights recognized in paragraph 1 may also be restricted by law in designated zones for reasons of public interest.

  5. No one can be expelled from the territory of the state of which he is a national or be deprived of the right to enter it.

  6. An alien lawfully in the territory of a State Party to this Convention may be expelled from it only pursuant to a decision reached in accordance with law.

  7. Every person has the right to seek and be granted asylum in a foreign territory, in accordance with the legislation of the state and international conventions, in the event he is being pursued for political offenses or related common crimes.

  8. In no case may an alien be deported or returned to a country, regardless of whether or not it is his country of origin, if in that country his right to life or personal freedom is in danger of being violated because of his race, nationality, religion, social status, or political opinions.

  9. The collective expulsion of aliens is prohibited.

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