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Viewing cable 06SANJOSE2735, SOUTHERN COMMAND'S HUMAN RIGHTS INITIATIVE;

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
06SANJOSE2735 2006-12-08 00:12 2011-03-03 16:04 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy San Jose
Appears in these articles:
http://www.nacion.com/2011-03-03/Investigacion/NotasDestacadas/Investigacion2697430.aspx
http://www.nacion.com/2011-03-03/Investigacion/NotaPrincipal/Investigacion2697496.aspx
http://www.nacion.com/2011-03-03/Investigacion/NotasSecundarias/Investigacion2697489.aspx
http://www.nacion.com/2011-03-03/Investigacion/NotasSecundarias/Investigacion2697532.aspx
http://www.nacion.com/2011-03-03/Investigacion/NotasSecundarias/Investigacion2697535.aspx
http://www.nacion.com/2011-03-03/Investigacion/NotasSecundarias/Investigacion2701964.aspx
http://www.nacion.com/2011-03-03/Investigacion/Relacionados/Investigacion2701965.aspx
VZCZCXYZ0000
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHSJ #2735 3420013
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 080013Z DEC 06
FM AMEMBASSY SAN JOSE
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 6803
INFO RUEHZA/WHA CENTRAL AMERICAN COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RHMFIUU/HQ USSOUTHCOM MIAMI FL PRIORITY
UNCLAS SAN JOSE 002735 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
DEPT FOR WHA/CEN JASON MACK, WHA/PPC AND DRL 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: PHUM PREL MASS XM CS
SUBJECT: SOUTHERN COMMAND'S HUMAN RIGHTS INITIATIVE; 
    TRAINING POLICE IN COSTA RICA 
 
 
1.  SUMMARY:  The U.S. Southern Command, as part of its Human 
Rights Initiative (HRI), sponsored a human rights conference 
in Costa Rica for 77 personnel, mainly from the public 
security force, November 28-December 1.  Building on the work 
of an initial conference in August, this event sought to 
create a consensus document on implementing the HRI in Costa 
Rica.   Participants developed objectives for human rights 
training for security officials and guidelines to measure the 
program's effectiveness, but differed over the need for, and 
possible function of, a human rights ombudsman within the 
police force.  The conference may help security force 
personnel better prepare for provocative and potentially 
violent demonstrations around the first legislature vote on 
CAFTA, expected in February.  This initiative is another 
example of USG "military" funding in support of a clearly 
civilian program.  We continue to point to initiatives like 
this to debunk the myth that USG military assistance is 
"militarizing" Costa Rica.  END SUMMARY. 
 
2.  Southcom and the Costa Rican-based NGO Center for the 
Study, Training, and Analysis of Human Rights (CECADH) hosted 
the conference under the auspices of the HRI, a regional 
program designed to strengthen respect for human rights by 
the military and security forces of 34 nations in the Western 
Hemisphere.  Held at a resort in the Guanacaste province of 
northwestern Costa Rica, the conference included 77 Costa 
Ricans, mostly from the Costa Rican national police force 
(Fuerza Publica).  The conference sought to create a 
country-specific consensus document to guide implementation 
of the HRI's goals and parameters which were established at 
an August 2006 conference of security and human rights 
leaders in Costa Rica.  Poloff and the Embassy,s Southcom 
TCA (Traditional Commander's Activities) coordinator attended. 
 
3.  Costa Rica is unique among HRI participants in that it 
does not have a military, so the goals and methods laid out 
in the consensus document were adapted for use by the police 
force, in conjunction with the human rights component 
alreadybuilt into the curruculum of the national police 
academy .  Discussion at times was lively, fueled by 
moderators from CECADH and the academy raising (the few) 
current cases of alleged human rights abuses by Costa Rican 
security officials.  Poloff observed groups of officers in 
spirited efforts to reach consensus on objectives assigned to 
their group.  The final product was a draft document, 
eventually to be available to the public (perhaps via a new 
link on the Ministry of Public Security's web page), 
explaining how security forces should be trained to respect 
human rights and how the effectiveness of that training would 
be measured. 
 
4.  Some of the most passionate discussions, however, 
centered on whether the police force should have an internal 
human rights ombudsman, and if so, where that office should 
be located and what its authorities should be.  (NOTE: Costa 
Rica already has an independent human rights ombudsman, 
monitoring these issues nationwide.)  While the issue was not 
resolved and many of the ideas discussed were not practical, 
the extremely frank conversation served as a healthy venting 
of numerous institutional concerns.  U.S. participants in the 
discussion suggested that Costa Rica,s relatively strong 
human rights record and the GOCR,s limited resources were 
reasons not to create a new and potentially cumbersome entity 
within the office of the Minister of Public Security, where 
the ombudsman's objectivity on police violations of human 
rights might be questioned. 
 
------- 
COMMENT 
------- 
 
5.  This was an important Southcom-sponsored effort to focus 
Costa Rican security authorities on how to more effectively 
implement their human rights doctrine.  The timing and topic 
of the conference were fortuitous.  The police need to be 
prepared for the next round of anti-CAFTA demonstrations 
which may coincide with the first ratification vote (probably 
in February).   Protestors may deliberately provoke security 
forces into over-reacting, in hopes of swaying public opinion 
(and a few key legislators) against CAFTA ratification.  The 
conference also achieved a milestone in that Costa Rican 
police officers established their own criteria for measuring 
progress toward their own policy goals.  Members of the 
Embassy,s Law Enforcement Committee will monitor GOCR follow 
up.  In addition, we will continue to point to initiatives 
such as HRI and this conference to debunk the lingering local 
myth that USG military assistance is "militarizing" Costa 
Rica. 
FRISBIE