Sunday 4 June 2023

Three years in prison for racists, legislator proposes

Proposal arises after several racist acts that have occurred in Costa Rica in recent months and that have been denounced by the media

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QCOSTARICA – With the aim of eradicating racism in Costa Rica, legislator Katherine Moreira Brown presented a bill that would classify acts of violence and ethnic-racial discrimination as criminal offences.

The idea would be to impose sanctions for offenders ranging from fines of up to three months’ salary to imprisonment for up to three years.

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The initiative from the Partido Liberación Nacional (PLN) legislator arises after several racist acts that have occurred in Costa Rica in recent months and that have been denounced by the media, such as the complaint regarding a schoolgirl who was prohibited from wearing “dreadlocks” for allegedly being desired and more recently, the firing of Saprissa coach Jeaustin Campos for insulting an Afro-descendant player on the team.

“This is an initiative that applies in all directions, it is not about defending only one ethnic group, but those who feel affected by discriminatory treatment of an ethnic-racial nature,” said legislator Moreira.

Among the crimes established in the text are physical or psychological abuse, restrictions on freedom of movement, restrictions on ethnic self-determination, theft, appropriation and patrimonial damage, limitation on the exercise of the right to property, damage to cultural heritage, hindering access to justice and breach of duties by public officials.

Last February, the legislator took on the case of two women, Luisa Nelson Banton and her sister Sandra, who assured that they were excluded from a course at the Instituto Nacional de Aprendizaje (INA) – National Learning Institute – in Limon, because of their skin color, because they have a disability and because they are older.

“Living free of discrimination and not backing down in terms of human rights,” was the call by Katherine Moreira. “These acts are truly reprehensible and must be censored by society,” added the legislator at the time.

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