Published Tuesday, May 18, 2021
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff
The government announced the advancement in a plan to give territories to these communities.--------------------------
The government plan, Recovery of Indigenous Territories, was declared of public interest last year and is being developed by the Rural Development Institute. This proposal establishes the obligation of this institution to relocate or compensate non-indigenous people who own or possess properties located within the indigenous territories.
The process taking place within indigenous territories includes actions such as gathering information, establishing boundaries, housing census and topographic registration.
Conflicts were recently reported in the indigenous area of China Kichá, which belongs to the Cabécar people, located in Pérez Zeledón Canton, in the southern zone of the country.
The problem arose when false information about the borderlines process of indigenous territories was disseminated.
In the specific case of China Kichá, there are two indigenous governing groups that are in charge of nine lots. There are also nine other lots that are under judicial process. Due to this legal process, these lands are not included in the plan, according to the government statement.
Additionally, there are more lots that are in the process of being included in the plan.
The indigenous territories of China-Kichá, were not recognized in 1982 by a government decree. However, in 2001 the territory was recognized again with a new Government Decree release.
In those 19 years of pause, the Indigenous Law of inalienability, imprescriptibility, non-transferability and exclusivity of the territory was applied. However, some land titles were granted to people not belonging to the indigenous community.
Costa Rica recognizes 24 indigenous territories where eight different peoples live: Huetar, Maleku, Bribri, Cabécar, Brunka, Ngäbe, Bröran, and Chorotega. Indigenous peoples constitute 2.4% of the total population, according to the International Working Group on Indigenous Affairs.
The 2010 National Census revealed that just over 100,000 people recognize themselves as indigenous. The 24 indigenous territories occupy 6.7% of the national territory (about 3,344 squared kilometers) although this is an area that appears only in their creation decrees and a large part has not been registered and is invaded by non-indigenous occupants, the indigenous defender's organization said.
How could the government end the conflict of appropriation of indigenous territories? We would like to know your thoughts on this story. Send your comments to email@example.com