San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Ortega Says Ruling Influenced by U.S.

Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega has accused the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) of giving into U.S. pressure when it dismissed his country’s suit against Costa Rica. In the case, Nicaragua accused Costa Rica of denying Nicaraguan immigrants their basic rights, and was based on the deaths of two Nicaraguans in Costa Rica in 2005 (TT, March 16).

“The influence of the North American government has been favorable for Costa Rica,” Ortega said, according to the Nicaraguan daily El Nuevo Diario.

Costa Rica’s Foreign Ministry announced March 12 that the commission had dismissed Nicaragua’s complaint, saying it was without merit and that all the internal means of justice had not been exhausted –a requirement for the court to hear a case.

The Foreign Ministry responded the same day Ortega’s statements were published, March 16, saying in a statement that in Costa Rica, “all inhabitants, no matter their migratory status, enjoy state protection of their human rights and public services in terms of health, education and dignified work. Furthermore, they can access the courts of justice to make sure their rights are protected.”

“Costa Rica defends the necessary independence and autonomy that regional and international legal institutions must enjoy,” the statement added.

Nicaragua filed the suit in February 2006, amid tense relations stemming from a dispute over the bordering San Juan River and the violent deaths of two Nicaraguan immigrants.

In November 2005, Natividad Canda was mauled to death by two Rottweiler guard dogs while emergency workers looked on for nearly an hour, allegedly unable to separate the animals from the victim (TT, Nov. 18, 2005). In the second incident, a Nicaraguan man was stabbed to death after a group of angry Costa Ricans chased him and friends from a bar, throwing rocks and allegedly yelling anti-Nicaraguan slurs (TT, Dec. 9, 2005).


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