New Commission to Promote Afro-Costa Rican Studies

May 6, 2005

THE newly formed NationalCommission of Afro-Costa Rican Studies,created by a decree President Abel Pachecosigned April 27, will promote interculturalvalues and alternative education strategiesin the nation’s schools.The commission will operate as partof the Public Education Ministry, accordingto a statement from the Citizen ActionParty (PAC).PAC legislator Epsy Campbell, anAfro-Costa Rican, proposed the commission’sformation, in conjunction withPublic Education Minister ManuelAntonio Bolaños and various Afro-CostaRican social organizations.“I am very satisfied to see this jointwork become reality,” Campbell said inthe statement. “The creation of thiscommission is a step toward the constructionof an inclusive, diverse andtolerant Costa Rica that begins to recognizeAfro-Costa Ricans’ cultural contributionsas its own.”Among the new commission’sresponsibilities are overseeing theimplementation of a curriculum dealingwith cultural and ethnic issues, andproposing educational strategies forincreasing students’ knowledge aboutAfro-Costa Rican culture.The commission will also developteaching material dealing with sensitivityto cultural and individual differences, thestatement said.4 Months, 5,000 CasesFor Constitutional ChamberTHE Constitutional Chamber of theSupreme Court (Sala IV) ruled on 5,084cases during the first four months of thisyear – including motions of unconstitutionality,writs of habeas corpus, lawsuits,and judicial and legislative consultations.During its 45th session of 2005, April29, the chamber’s seven justices resolved368 cases, bringing them to an average of1,271 votes per month this year, accordingto a Sala IV statement.This means the justices have voted onmore cases in 2005 than the Sala IV has received(5,003 since Jan. 1). However, theoverloaded chamber began the year with abacklog of 3,000 cases, having received14,000 new cases during 2004 (TT, April 22).The justices are in the final stages ofcreating a proposal for reforms thatwould create lower courts to hear habeascorpus cases and constitutional lawsuits,which make up 85% of the chamber’sworkload. For the reforms to be possible,Legislative Assembly members must alsoagree to reform Article 48 of theConstitution, which delegates powersover those cases to the Sala IV.A group of 10 legislators has proposedthis reform and plan to begin discussingit this month.

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