U.S. State Department sees some human rights problems here again

The United States lightly criticized Costa Rica Thursday for human rights abuses, including trafficking in persons, particularly sex trafficking of children. The U.S. government also listed discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity and harsh prison conditions and treatment.

Other human rights concerns included rising reports of official corruption and infringements on the rights of native people, according to the annual human rights report compiled by the State Department.

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However, the narrative lacks substantial documentation to these allegations. The report, issued in Washington, D.C., covered activities in 2014, particularly between January and June in some cases.

The report makes no mention of U.S. citizens who have been defrauded of their real estate or were victims of parental child abduction. Both are major human rights issues.

The report did list overcrowded prisons and noted that 13,769 convicts  are in supervised work release programs and serve no time.

The report also noted that the trial rate for reported crimes was less than 8 percent with just two thirds of that percentage resulting in convictions.

The report noted that the legislature has not complied with an order from the  Inter-American Court of Human Rights to pass a law regulating  in-vitro fertilization, which continues to be banned. The cases involve a few couples.

The report also noted that an immigration appeals tribunal has a three-year backlog of 700 cases, many including appeals for refugee status.

The report said that the government, security officials, and child advocacy organizations acknowledged that commercial sexual exploitation of children was a serious problem.

From January to June, 2014,  the Patronato Nacional de la Infancia, the child welfare agency,  reported 11 cases of commercial sexual exploitation of minors and seven cases of trafficking for commercial sexual exploitation, said the report.

In 2013 the judicial branch’s statistics office reported five cases of sex with minors with payment involved, the U.S. report said.

The government identified child sex tourism as a serious problem, said the report, but it failed to give specifics or amplification.

Although the minimum age for marriage is 18 or 15 with parental consent, the report repeated local statistics that said 981 girls and adolescents between the ages of 12 and 14 were living under common-law marriage.

The report seems to be based only on official statistics, newspaper clippings and input from agencies and organizations. The full report is HERE!

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