A year into sociopolitical crisis, thousands of Nicaraguans continue to flee

A year into sociopolitical crisis, thousands of Nicaraguans continue to flee

Since April 2018, Nicaragua has been wracked by a deep sociopolitical crisis, forcing over 60,000 people to flee. As raids in search of dissidents and protesters continue, Costa Rica has been receiving over 2,000 asylum requests per month from people crossing its northern border in search of safety.

Costa Rica’s support for refugees goes back decades. During the turbulent 1970s and 1980s, when civil wars roiled much of the region from El Salvador and Nicaragua to Colombia, Costa Rica remained a haven of peace, keeping its doors open to those at risk.

The small Central American country has developed exemplary systems of protection allowing refugees to thrive. It grants asylum seekers the right to work and attend schools while their petitions are processed, and allows them to appeal if the decision doesn’t go there way. However, the growing number of asylum seekers in Costa Rica has put its system under heightened strain.

UNHCR is providing support to migration and refugee authorities to increase their processing capacity and has strengthened its presence in Costa Rica’s northern border region by opening a new office in Upala that monitors and registers people entering the country, provides information and guidance on the asylum process and delivers humanitarian assistance.

Original source: UNHCR
Published on 16 April 2019