Jehry Rivera Rivera

Source The Guardian 

Author Nina Lakhani

Jehry Rivera Rivera , 45, from the Brörán community in Térraba, Costa Rica,  was shot dead around 11pm on Monday, 24 February, 2020, after being surrounded by a group of angry locals armed with sticks, machetes, stones and at least one gun.

The attack took place amid mounting tensions in Térraba, where human rights groups had warned authorities in recent days about non-indigenous groups violently confronting Brörán families reclaiming ancestral land.

The events leading up to Monday night’s fatal shooting remain unclear, but video footage seen by the Guardian shows members of the group throwing stones and insults over Rivera’s bleeding body, with a police car parked close by.

The killing comes just two weeks after Mainor Ortiz Delgado, 29, a leader of the Bribri indigenous people in neighbouring Salitre, was wounded in a gun attack, and less than a year since Sergio Rojas Ortiz, 59, was shot dead. Both cases remain unsolved.

Costa Rica, an eco-tourism hub with five million inhabitants, is widely considered the region’s most equitable and law abiding country.

But in recent years, the Bribri and Brörán people have been subject to a string of violent attacks, racist harassment and trumped-up retaliatory lawsuits with almost total impunity. In 2013 Rivera survived a brutal beating while trying to stop illegal loggers. The alleged perpetrator was set free after being ordered not to return to Térraba for six months.

As a result, in 2015 the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights issued precautionary measures, calling on Costa Rican authorities to protect the lives and physical integrity of the Bribri and Brörán people. Rivera, Delgado and Ortiz were ostensibly recipients of these safety measures when attacked.

Amid growing international condemnation about the impunity, the government has pledged to investigate the growing list of crimes but denies responsibility for the spate of violence. President Carlos Alvarado condemned the murder on Twitter, and confirmed that one man had been detained.


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Country:Costa Rica



Date of Killing:24/02/2020

Previous Threats:Yes

Type of Work:Community leader

Sector or Type of Rights the HRD Worked On:ESC Rights

Sector Detail:Indigenous Peoples' Rights, Land Rights

More information:Front Line Defenders

1This database records an individual's chosen gender identity. If they do not self-identify as male or female they can use the option of recording other/neither or use the term NBGI (non binary gender identity).