19 July 2018

Activities of Secretary-General in Costa Rica, 16-17 July

United Nations Secretary‑General António Guterres began an official visit to Costa Rica on Monday, 16 July.  In the morning, he visited the country’s National Energy Centre in San José.

Following that, he travelled to the United Nations School, where he met with Government, business and civil society representatives to talk about Costa Rica’s progress on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

In the afternoon, he met with President Carlos Alvarado Quesada of Costa Rica and they held a press conference after their meeting.

During that press conference, the Secretary‑General discussed the recent violence in neighbouring Nicaragua, saying that it is absolutely essential to end the violence immediately and revitalize the national dialogue there for a political solution.  He affirmed the Nicaraguan Government’s responsibility to protect its citizens — a principle that should not be forgotten, he said, at a time when we unfortunately have a death toll that is absolutely shocking.

In the evening, the Secretary‑General spoke at the inauguration of the commemorative week of the fortieth anniversary of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights.  He thanked Costa Rica not only for hosting the Court, but also for embodying the key principles it represents.  In a part of the world beset for so long by violence, authoritarianism and corruption, he said, Costa Rica has consistently stood out for its commitment to the principles of democracy, rule of law, peace and human rights.  (See Press Release SG/SM/19136.)

The Secretary-General stressed the importance of the Court, saying, “there can be no development without peace, or peace without development.  And there can be no development or peace without respect for human rights”.  He said that, despite the Court’s progress, parts of the region still face significant human rights challenges, as illustrated by widespread violence, corruption, poverty and discrimination.

The Secretary-General said that those carrying the burden of human rights violations are predominantly the people who suffer historically from discrimination and marginalization — children, women, indigenous communities, people of African descent, migrants, refugees, the rural poor, persons with disabilities and the LGBTI community.

He called on leaders to recognize the authority of the Court and renew their commitment to defend their citizens’ rights, in particular those of the most vulnerable populations, including women, indigenous peoples, youth, migrants and refugees.

The Secretary‑General returned to New York the following day, 17 July.

For information media. Not an official record.