Costa Rica

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CountryCosta Rica
Optional protocolon the involvement of children in armed conflict, on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography, on a Communication Procedure
ViolenceThe Committee is deeply concerned about the frequent occurrence of various forms of violence against children.
Corporal punishmentCorporal Punishment is still a predominant practice in society, despite its legal prohibition.
Overview of the child rights situation

In the Costa Rica report, it becomes clear that the implementation of the child rights perspective in general legislation in insufficient. Costa Rica needs to allocate more financial, human and technical resources to the implementation of laws that uphold children's rights. Similarly, the overall societal approach to children's rights is paternalistic and adult-oriented, and children's rights are not prioritized. There is also a lack of child-friendly, compliant mechanisms in any official context. In addition, measures to prevent gang violence and drug trafficking must be implemented. In addition, 34 percent of children live in poverty and 12 percent even live in extreme poverty.

Situation of intersexual and transsexual childrenThe situation of trans and intersexual children is rarely mentioned, but harassment is obliquitous.
Female genital mutilation and reproductive rights

Persisting stereotypes against girls heighten the risks of sexual violence and exploitation, early pregnancies and the imposition of barriers in access to education and sexual and reproductive health. Patriarchal ideologies need to be removed in education and family. 15 percent of femicides registered between 2004 and 2014 affected adolescent girls. Abortion is criminalized.

Racism, children belonging to a minority and indigenous childrenThe Committee recommends to expedite the adoption of legislation to sanction and address all forms of violence related to racism, xenophobia and discrimination, including sanctions for perpetrators of hate speech.<br /> Also, the child mortality rate of indigenous and Afro-descendent children in Limón Province is higher than the national average.
Situation of children with disabilities

Measures to identify violence and improve accessible health-care services need to be implemented for children with disabilities. In addition, the Committee recommends to ensure that legislation on children’s rights and gender-equality legislation and public policies are responsive to and include the rights of children with disabilities, and promote participation of children with disabilities in public decision-making. Also, Costa Rica should ensure that all cases of violence, including sexual violence, against children with disabilities, are systematically registered by the authorities, and provide children with adequate access to redress, including psychosocial counselling, and support services.

Situation of asylum-seeking, refugee and migrant childrenImprovements are necessary for asylum-seeking children to attend education. Therefore, the Committee recommends to ensure that public authorities in charge of asylum procedures comply with the right of the child to have his or her best interests taken as a primary consideration.
Free kindergartenYes
Free primary and secondary schoolYes
Digital possibilitiesThe Committee recommends to strengthen measures to protect children from harmful information and products and online risks.
physical health

The Committee recommends to ensure access to health services by indigenous and Afro-descendent children living in rural and coastal areas. Also, Costa Rica should ensure sufficient budget allocation for universal coverage of health care, including by establishing and strengthening partnerships with local governments.

Relation to other countries
mental health

There are high rates of suicides among adolescents. The Committee recommends to strengthen the work and coverage of the interdisciplinary mental health teams working at the local level, and adopt a strategy focused on the prevention of suicide.

Business sector

The Committee, noting with concern information about the worst forms of child labour, in particular of girls in domestic work and adolescent children in the informal sector, recommends that the State party strengthen its measures to identify and prevent child labour, through continuous labour inspections, mechanisms of complaint by children, and awareness-raising campaigns against domestic work of adolescent girls.

Situation of juvenile justice

The Committee recommends to the state party to bring its child justice system fully into line with the Convention and raise the minimum age of criminal responsibility to at least 14 years. Also, Costa Rica should discontinue preventive detention of children. Furthermore, the Committee recommends that the State party take measures to ensure the identification of instances of ill-treatment of children by the police, and measures to improve infrastructure and conditions of detention in Zurquí and Ofelia Vicenzi juvenile centres need to be adopted.

Specific observations

Costa Rica's concluding observations are one of the few that include intersectional discrimination.

Additional BackgroundConcluding observations on the fifth and sixth periodic reports released on 4 March 2020.
Last Updated (date)2nd of March, 2022