Through a letter addressed to the Deputy Director of Migration of Costa Rica, Allan David Rodriguez Vargasthe Intercultural Association for Human Rights (ASIDEHU) based in San José, Costa Rica, requested the expansion of “care fields” to people who request refuge for the first time.
“The reason for this letter is to ask you from your office to carry out the pertinent steps to increase the number of appointments to 150 (…) for people who need to request refuge for the first time in the DGME-CR Refuge Unit, since (70 that they provide now) are insufficient and leaves those who seek to be protected by the State of Costa Rica unprotected internationally,” details part of the letter dated Wednesday, March 15.
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Jhoswel Martínez, president of ASIDEHU explained to Article 66 that the request is due to a series of anomalies that are occurring with the processing system, “the impossibility of making an appointment and insufficient spaces.”
In the letter, the association points out that “the very serious risk” was denounced that people seeking refuge for the first time are not eligible since they have been trying to acquire one of the 70 places that they give in the Refuge Unit for some time, since they will soon comply the period of 1 calendar month established in article 18 of the Refugee Regulations, to request refuge.
The organization recalled that the new care measures for foreign refugee applicants were implemented on February 20 of this year and the Costa Rican government determined that “70 daily spaces would be enabled for refugee applications for the first time and that these would be provided to via phone line or website.
However, the organization points out, it has been known that “a series of anomalies have been presenting on the platform in terms of requesting appointments, and it has been impossible to carry them out, through the aforementioned channels.”
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«At the time of requesting the appointment applying to shelter for the first time via the web, this page indicates that there are no appointments available, in the case of mobile phones, calls are not answered, this despite trying to call from several mobile lines at the same time according to the established schedule, “says the letter.
Given this, Martínez added that as an association they carried out the respective procedures and were able to verify through complaints that on some occasions only 20 slots were being granted in Migration.
“This is something that leaves a lot to be desired because – the Migration officials – instead of working on accurate information, what they do is misinform people,” said the president of ASIDEHU.
Fear of not being eligible
On the other hand, the association asserted that in view of this problem, many people whom they have supported are close to not being eligible to request refuge, “since their stay in the country will soon exceed the calendar month, the maximum established in Article 14 of the Refugee Regulations, and they have not been able to process their refugee appointments for the first time, even with us supporting them in the process, since it is impossible, which would leave these migrants unprotected by the Costa Rican State.
«From our Association we once again request your estimable authority so that in the Refuge Unit the quotas provided for the attention of people who request refuge for the first time are expanded to 150, and that they try to solve the problem of appointments for telephone line or platform, since as we verified previously, it is impossible to access one of the fields that are available daily, “stressed the Intercultural Association for Human Rights.
After the letter sent to Migration, the organization expects a response within a maximum period of three or seven days, which, if positive, according to Jhoswel Martínez, this would be mitigating a crisis and need that is occurring and that leads to a violation of the human rights of people seeking refuge in the neighboring country to the south.