By Camila Lesizza - International Relations student
It is no secret that the world around us has changed immensely throughout the years. One can argue that worldwide paradigms regarding international connections and cooperation have been mainly shaped by the increase in globalization and, thus, the improvement of communication mediums and technology. These changes, however, don’t stop here. In 2020 we have been met with the biggest change of them all: a global pandemic. This new issue has brought with it new obstacles that have shaken even the strongest of states, international cooperation has now passed on to be one of the factors that can determine if hundreds and even thousands of critical patients make it out of their critical state.
Now, in order to understand Costa Rica’s response to such a big impact, we must begin with the basic ideals that the state supports. The country has constantly excelled in subjects such as human rights, environmental protection and even gun-violence control, its role in such matters comes from its strong commitment to ideals of peace, equality, and justice. It is important to note that the state believes that these ideals shouldn’t only be applied nationally but internationally, along with programs that support the well-being and respect of human rights of immigrants throughout Latin America and the Caribbean. Furthermore, according to the annex to the letter dated 6 March 2014 from the Permanent Representative of Costa Rica to the United Nations addressed to the President of the General Assembly, the country was the first to sign and ratify the 1966 International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and the 1966 International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (Ulibarri, 2014). It is also a state party to the two protocols to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, adopted in 1966 and 1989, and a signatory to the 2008 Protocol to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.
Moreover, when we look at how this translates into the times of pandemic we are experiencing right now, we find that Costa Rica has coordinated international help from countries such as China and the United Arab Emirates. This support has been materialized in varied medical equipment that has helped the more than 7000 diagnosed COVID-19 patients. Furthermore, the Costa Rican government has paired with the United Nations in order to provide safe spaces to incoming Nicaraguan immigrants that might be infected with the virus (Vizcaino & Avalos, 2020). This initiative was put in place to help agricultural businesses as well as any other businesses that might be affected in the northern region of the country. The steps to be taken during this cooperation include:
➢ 200 million colones support from the United Nations
➢ Participation from the World Health Organization. This participation consists of providing medical staff and medicines necessary to deal with the emergency. The National Commission for Emergencies would assist in this task.
➢ Participation from other medical emergency bodies such as the Red Cross and “Médecins Sans Frontières” (translates to Doctors without Borders).
Throughout the years we have seen the evolution of Costa Rica’s foreign policy, however one thing has not changed no matter how much the world changes around them: their value for human rights. Through its ideals, the state has ensured that its citizens have free education and health care, which are two irrevocable rights that all humans regardless of their gender, race or nationality deserve.
Furthermore, during these tough times of sickness, anxiety and distancing, the state has ensured that its citizens have access to medical resources as well as monetary and social ones. We have seen how the impact of international cooperation and a passion for human rights can change the world during hostile times, and I sure hope this serves as an example worldwide.
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Vizcaino, I. & Avalos, A. (2020, June 12). ONU dará a Costa Rica “cooperación sanitaria” contra covid-19 en la zona norte. La Nación. Retrieved from https://www.nacion.com/el-pais/salud/nuevo-coronavirus-77-casos-nuevos-onu-dara-a/ZQB7H3ANBBAMTAPXCQXMXLJUU4/story/
Ulibarri, E. (2014, March 6). United Nations Official Document. Retrieved from https://www.un.org/en/ga/search/view_doc.asp?symbol=A/69/68