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World Refugee Day 2004: Costa Rica

World Refugee Day 2004: Costa Rica

20 June 2004


UNHCR, in coordination with its implementing partner ACAI and the University of Peace, produced a documentary on the situation of refugees in Costa Rica. The production of the video included the interview and recording of seven selected refugee who narrated their story. The documentary also included interviews with Costa Rican officials. On 21 June, the video was broadcast on a TV programme.

On 11 June, UNHCR inaugurated the photo exhibition, "Arrancados de Raíz", comprising 25 pictures that portray the faces of Colombian refugees and internally displaced persons taken by UNHCR staff in Venezuela, Panama, Ecuador and Colombia. The exhibition took place in the Supreme Electoral Tribunal in San José.

World Refugee Day itself was celebrated on 19 June. The activities took place in the Metropolitan Sabana Park in San José. There were numerous activities for children, such as a magician, a story teller and a drawing workshop, as well as for the general public with music and dances from Cuban, Colombian and Costa Rican groups and singers. Pursuing Costa Rica's passion for soccer, a tournament was organised between teams made up of international organisation staff and refugees.

A Mass dedicated to refugees and their difficult situation worldwide was celebrated on 20 June at the Metropolitan Cathedral in San José and in many other Catholic churches around the country. CARITAS and the Church's Social Pastoral contributed to the organisation of this activity. The Mass at the Cathedral was also covered by the media.

A selection of five films touching the refugee and refugee-like situations was shown in three screening rooms of an independent movie theatre EL SEMAFORO located in San José. The film festival was inaugurated on 21 June and went on for two weeks.

The inauguration of a series of presentations of the play, "La Casa de atrás", will start in August and finish in December 2004. "La Casa de atrás" is an awareness activity aimed at young students and based on Anne Frank's Diary. The play has been supported by UNHCR, the National University, the Embassy of the Netherlands and the Dutch cooperation agency, Hivos. "La Casa de atrás" will be performed in San José and in the province of Alajuela.