Press Release

IACHR Hails Costa Rica’s Ratification of the Inter-American Convention against Racism, Racial Discrimination and Related Forms of Intolerance

August 18, 2016

A+ A-

Washington, D.C. — The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) welcomes Costa Rica’s ratification of the Inter-American Convention against Racism, Racial Discrimination and Related Forms of Intolerance, on August 5, 2016.

With this step, Costa Rica becomes the first country to ratify the Inter-American Convention against Racism, which was approved by the General Assembly of the Organization of American States (OAS) in June 2013. The IACHR congratulates the State of Costa Rica for its critical contribution towards enabling the entry into force of this treaty, which requires two OAS member countries to deposit instruments of ratification or accession.

The Inter-American Convention against Racism, Racial Discrimination and Related Forms of Intolerance reaffirms the States’ commitment to the elimination of racial discrimination and the effective realization of the principle of equality in the region. This instrument reinforces international standards established in the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, and takes a step forward in the legal definition of contemporary forms of racism. In addition, the text recognizes as discriminatory actions that take place in both the public and private sphere, and specifies that common discriminatory practices should be prohibited, such as the restriction of access to public places and the limitation of access to or sustainable use of natural resources, ecosystems, and ecological services.

“The racial disparities that persist in the region are not anywhere near the threshold of equality. Discrimination and discriminatory practices often degenerate into patterns in which human rights are violated, especially the rights to equality and dignity. The Convention represents an opportunity to combat the manifestations of discrimination and promote egalitarian societies,” said Margarette Macaulay, the IACHR Rapporteur for the Rights of Persons of African Descent and against Racial Discrimination, during her attendance and participation at this historic ratification ceremony for the public signing by the President and the Minister of Foreign Affairs in San Jose, Costa Rica.

The Commission strongly urges the other States in the region to take the necessary measures to ratify this Convention, as an effective sign of their commitment to combat racial discrimination and all forms of intolerance in the hemisphere and ensure it's early entry into force. The IACHR reiterates the importance that the States in the Inter-American system move toward the universal acceptance and implementation of their norms through the ratification of all regional human rights instruments by all OAS member countries. The Commission hopes that the ratification of the Convention by Costa Rica will prompt the adoption of national measures to prohibit discrimination and promote equality of opportunity in sectors such as education and employment.

A principal, autonomous body of the Organization of American States (OAS), the IACHR derives its mandate from the OAS Charter and the American Convention on Human Rights. The Inter-American Commission has a mandate to promote respect for human rights in the region and acts as a consultative body to the OAS in this area. The Commission is composed of seven independent members who are elected in an individual capacity by the OAS General Assembly and who do not represent their countries of origin or residence.

No. 117/16