Exhibit in downtown San José highlights the issue of femicide in Costa Rica

This is an institutional campaign to raise citizen awareness of the state of femicide in Costa Rica and its impact.

Luany, Casandra, Yendry, Marisol, Fernanda, Grettel. Some had children, others were studying university degrees or dreamed of becoming professionals, while others were still in high school. Their stories, environments and expectations were different, but they all share in common being victims of femicide in the last year.

Their faces and voices are no longer here, but an inter-institutional effort supported by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) seeks to raise public awareness of the existence and impact of femicide in Costa Rica by placing 15 life-size female silhouette figures in the San José Central Park, each representing one of the women who died in 2021 as a result of femicide.

The initiative called “Those no longer here” was implemented by the Ministry of Justice and Peace, UNDP-USAID InfoSegura Project, the Municipality of San José and Interinstitutional Technical Commission for Statistics on Coexistence and Citizen Security (COMESCO).

"Despite the fact that the murdered women are no longer physically here, we want their presence to be felt in the collective awareness of the country, reminding us that we still have a long way to go to prevent femicides from continuing to happen. We need education in healthy masculinities and femininities for boys and girls; we need self-awareness and sorority of us, women, not to tolerate this and to seek help. And, as a society, we need to stop normalizing or reproducing violent behaviours that still go unnoticed or are seen as jokes. The collective effort will lead to the eradication of this evil only if we are fully aware and take responsibility," said Minister of Justice and Peace Fiorella Salazar Rojas.

The installation was inaugurated this morning in the heart of the capital, during a ceremony attended by the Minister of Justice and Peace, as well as Minister for the Status of Women and Executive President of INAMU Marcela Guerrero Campos, UNDP Resident Representative in Costa Rica José Vicente Troya Rodriguez, and interim Mayor of the Municipality of San José Paula Vargas Ramirez. Also present were relatives of the victims represented in the figures, which will remain in the Central Park for about three months.

The purpose is to appeal to the public to reduce gender-based acts of violence and to make femicide visible as a heinous act against women's lives that affects their families and communities.

Although the 15 figures represent victims of the last year, each silhouette offers references to the lives of murdered women from previous years in the words of their own relatives, as a symbol that femicide is a problem that persists over time and can happen to any woman at any moment.

In addition, through other graphic prompts, passersby see information about the femicides that occurred during 2021 and are encouraged to seek help, and report to 9-1-1 if they are victims of any type of violence.

"Each femicide, each act of violence against women is a defeat, it is a failure of the state and of society as a whole. The best tribute we can pay to their memories is to promote transformative policies and behaviours to forever eradicate the patriarchal culture that justifies and encourages violence that affects women and girls," said UNDP Resident Representative José Vicente Troya Rodriguez.



Background . From 2007 to 2021, 400 women lost their lives to femicide, according to data provided by the Observatory on Gender-Based Violence against Women and Access to Justice of the Judicial Branch.

Motivated by the seriousness of the issue last year, these institutions launched the "More than a number" campaign, with audiovisual testimonies, animations and spots on social media to encourage reflection and awareness about the statistics related to violence against women and the implications for their lives.

These initiatives seek to enhance the usefulness of the statistics and knowledge generated by COMESCO. One of the most important objectives is to go beyond the cold figures, resonate with the public and help promote public policies.



Consequently, "Those no longer here" will transfer this reflection from digital environments to real life for the thousands of pedestrians in downtown San José every week, so that visitors in Central Park pause for a moment and think about that woman who could have been there, walking through those same streets, but whose life was lost to femicide.

"For the Municipality of San José, it is a great honour to be part of this campaign that allows us, as a local government, to raise our voice on behalf of all those who are no longer here, and say: Stop the murder of our women! No one has the right to take control of our lives, much less end them. No more women victims of brutal acts and homicides at the hands of those they trusted.

"The Central Park, as a public space of the capital, will host this installation, and we ask the neighbours in the canton and around the whole country to come and ponder the figures and the messages they bear," said interim Mayor Paula Vargas Ramirez.