Update 10 April 2019: According to an official statement from the office of President Carlos Alvarado Quesada, bilateral negotiations are “moving forward” with both the Bribri and Teribe Indigenous groups of Puntarenas in southern Costa Rica. Costa Rica’s deputy minister stressed the commitment of the government to comply with precautionary measures established by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) and "to continue in a constructive process of dialogue and respect for the rights of Indigenous peoples within the framework of the Inter-American Human Rights System. Rojas was one of the beneficiaries of the IACHR’s precautionary measure. Following the brutal murder of Rojas, the United Nations Human Rights Commission had urged the authorities to take the necessary action to resolve the killing of the social activist as well as guarantee the protection of the people of Salitre.  

Right Groups, Activists Demand Justice for Slain Costa Rican Indigenous Leader

People demanding justice for Sergio Rojas, the murdered Indigenous leader from Costa Rica.
Sergio Rojas, the murdered Indigenous leader from Costa Rica. | Photo: Twitter / @BHRRC

By TS - 20 March 2019

People are demanding justice for murdered Indigenous leader from Costa Rica.

Various rights organizations are demanding justice for the murdered Costa Rican Indigenous activist who was shot dead Monday. From political parties, the Ombudsman's Office, students, to the presidency of the National Institute of Women are demanding a prompt investigation of the murder of Sergio Rojas, the Bribri leader.

Indigenous land rights defender Sergio Rojas was assassinated by armed gunmen who shot the activist as many as 15 times at around 11:45 pm local time in his home, according to his neighbors, in southern Costa Rica.

Rojas was President of the Association for the Development of the Indigenous Territory of Salitre and coordinator of the National Front of Indigenous Peoples (FRENAP) in Costa Rica and was a staunch defender of the Bribri of Saltire Indigenous people who have been fighting for years to regain their rights to over 12,000 hectares of land in southern Costa Rica pledged to them by a 1938 government agreement.

The Ombudsman's Office said the murder of Sergio Rojas, "is a serious blow in the fight for the defense of human rights because he was a person who defended the rights of Indigenous peoples in Costa Rica.”

The Attorney General's office formed a special team which will investigate the assassination. The group is made up of experts on homicides and Indigenous affairs.

The United Nations Human Rights Commission also condemned the brutal murder of Rojas and urged the authorities to take immediate action while guaranteeing the protection of the people of Salitre.  

This wasn't the first attempt on Rojas' life. In 2012, shortly after the Bribri gained back some of their lands, the FRENAP coordinator was shot at eight times by armed men but escaped the shooting unscathed.

 

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