Inter-American Court of Human Rights demands to guarantee LGBTI rights in Costa Rica

On Tuesday, January 9, 2018, the Advisory Opinion of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights requested by the State of Costa Rica was published, which requires the guarantee of rights of the people of the LGBTI social sectors, including marriage and identity of trans people.

In 2017, Costa Rica requested an Advisory Opinion from the Inter-American Court of Human Rights on some matters of its Civil Code related to the rights of same-sex couples and transgender people.

On Tuesday, January 9, the answer was published saying that the State must “recognize and guarantee all rights derived from a family bond between persons of the same sex (including marriage).” They also have the obligation to guarantee that the trans people who want to change their name and gender in identity documents, can do so according to the way in which they are self-perceived (that is, without the need of requirements such as medical and/or psychological certifications).

To clarify doubts about this progress, we spoke with Larissa Arroyo Navarrete, lawyer, and director of the Asociación Ciudadana- ACCEDER of Costa Rica, who made some clarifications about the effects of the Advisory Opinion of the Court.

LACWHN:  What are the effects of the Advisory Opinion of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights in guaranteeing the rights of the LGBTI population in Costa Rica?

Larissa Arroyo: The effects exceeded our expectations, the recognition of same-sex unions and access to legal figures that already exist in legislation, including marriage and on the other hand the recognition of the identity of trans people, without barriers and without obstacles.

LACWHN:  What are the rights that the court requests in the Advisory Opinion be guaranteed by the government of Costa Rica?

  1. A: The most important right recognized and demanded is the right to Equality and non-discrimination, rights that ultimately protect other rights historically violated to LGBTI persons, such as the right to family, name, and identity.

LACWHN:  What are the steps that the State of Costa Rica must follow to comply with the request of the Court?

L.A: All the powers of the State must initiate concrete actions to implement the total and effective fulfillment of that established by the Advisory Opinion of the Court.

LACWHN: The anti-right and extreme right sectors have taken actions to counter what was requested by the Court?

LA: The anti-right and far right sectors have criticized the opinion through fallacies and distortion of the discourse in order to stop this kind of progress, they have also talked about the withdrawal of the Inter-American Human Rights System, but this will not be clear until that there is a change of government.

LACWHN: What kind of support do you expect or need from international networks and from Latin America and the Caribbean, in the face of this advance?

L.A: It is important that organizations ask their countries to speak about what this Advisory Opinion implies, it is also important to continue monitoring what is happening in Costa Rica, about this progress and demands of the Court for the States.

To listen to the full interview: (Only in Spanish)

To read the Advisory Opinion of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights: