Nicaraguan refugees and asylum seekers in Costa Rica Double:

The UN Refugee Agency reported that in the past eight months the number of people fleeing Managua, Nicaragua to Costa Rica has doubled. To date, more than 150,000 people have been displaced.

Nicaragua is characterized by generating significant population flows to foreign countries, with two main destinations: the United States of America and Costa Rica.

Since 2018, more than 108,000 Nicaraguans have been forced to flee their country and three-quarters of them have sought protection in Costa Rica.

The UN agency said the current number of Nicaraguans seeking refuge in Costa Rica already exceeds the total number of refugees and asylum seekers in the 1980s with the Central American civil wars.

Migration experts explain that the increase in asylum applications is the consequence of “important socio-political events; among them, the presidential elections that took place in November.

Daniel Ortega’s perpetuation in power led to the arrest of more than 40 opponents in Nicaragua, including the seven pre-presidential candidates seeking to challenge his decision. Repression and violence have been Ortega’s main strategy against his opponents and critics.

Faced with the catastrophic situation in Nicaragua, the Costa Rican government has decided to keep its borders open to people in need of international protection. The challenges have been enormous, given the difficulties encountered during the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to UNHCR border monitoring, many asylum seekers found work during the coffee harvest season; however, their economic security will be threatened at the end of this period. Especially since Costa Rica is slowly and gradually recovering from a devastating economic situation.

Conditions for refugees are appalling: in-country assessments have shown that due to the pandemic, many Nicaraguan refugees and asylum seekers are unable to meet their basic needs; for example, some eat once a day or not at all. Additionally, unemployment rates have risen, forcing people to borrow or work in exchange for food.

“As the needs of the people of Nicaragua increase, the attention of the world seems to be fading,” said Milton Moreno, UNHCR Representative in Costa Rica. “Without a quick and adequate response, we run the risk of people suffering unnecessarily and another entirely preventable situation occurring,” he said.

There is no doubt that the situation is far from easy and rather requires help and help. The individual support networks that provide shelter and economic opportunities for Nicaraguans are weakening, and the funding needs of UNHCR and its partners are increasing.

“Costa Rica and UNHCR cannot overcome these challenges without help. We ask the international community to support us so that we can help the refugee populations,” concluded Moreno.

About Matthew Berkey

Check Also

Jamaica and Barbados to benefit from electric mobility initiative | Caribbean

SHARM EL SHEIKH, Egypt, CMC – Jamaica and Barbados will benefit from the first regional …