The recent visit of United Nations Independent Expert on human rights and the environment, John Knox, to Costa Rica and Panama received national and local media attention. The Independent Expert lauded Costa Rica on its history of environmental protection but urged the country to address threats to environmental defenders.
“It’s not the task of social organizations, civil society or citizens to put their own lives at risk to protect the environment. These are police functions that have to be adequately carried out by the government. It’s one thing to protect turtle eggs from tourists, it’s another to protect them from poachers,” Knox said.
The Independent Expert praised the country’s adoption of a constitutional right to a healthy environment, and noted that “Costa Rica is considered to be a leader in human rights, but like all leaders there is the challenge to be better than you have before.”
The Expert plans to release a formal report on his findings to the Human Rights Commission and the public in 2014.
Press coverage for the visit can be found below: