San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Indigenous People Suffer Lack of Basic Needs

Housing Minister Fernando Zumbado Wednesday called for improvements to living conditions for Costa Rica’s indigenous people, 59% of whom survive with at least three of their basic needs unsatisfied, while only 27% of them live in homes considered to be in good condition, according to a statement from the Housing Ministry.

“We should make an extraordinary effort … to give a better quality of life to Costa Rica’s indigenous populations,” Zumbado said.

Ministry statistics say living conditions for the indigenous have gotten significantly worse, especially for Cabécar communities in the Southern Zone Chirripó region, where more than 90% do not have decent housing and access to potable water.

Zumbado said only 27% of indigenous homes are in good condition, while 32% are in poor condition and the remaining 41% are in average condition.

“The indigenous population faces multiple cases of social discrimination in economics, politics and gender,” Zumbado said.

Among actions the ministry is taking to improve quality of life for the indigenous include economic support for more than 100 families to help children stay in school in the southern Caribbean Talamanca area.

Additionally, the ministry is working on programs to provide adequate housing while respecting indigenous traditions, Zumbado said.

In Costa Rica eight indigenous groups inhabit 24 indigenous territories. About 2% of the country’s population is indigenous.


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