‘Sharp rise’ in Nicaraguans fleeing to Costa Rica, strains asylum system

Doubling in quantity over the past eight months, the company now estimates that there are greater than 150,000 Nicaraguans who’ve crossed over the southern border, in search of refuge in Costa Rica.

“These figures, as of February 2022, affirm extra Nicaraguans are at present in search of safety in Costa Rica than all of the refugees and asylum seekers mixed, throughout Central America’s civil wars within the Eighties, when Costa Rica was a sanctuary for these fleeing violence,” UNHCR spokesperson Boris Cheshirkov, instructed a press convention in Geneva.

Troubling development

UNHCR is worried that this development may significantly pressure Costa Rica’s already stretched asylum system and overwhelm assist networks within the nation.  

The sharp rise within the variety of asylum seekers from Nicaragua corresponds with main socio-political occasions within the nation,” defined Mr. Cheshirkov.

Furthermore, Nicaraguans are additionally more and more in search of safety additional afield.

In the course of the first two months of 2022, the quantity in search of asylum in Mexico, represented practically a 3rd of the overall, for all of 2021.

Lilith, not her real name, was trafficked from Nicaragua as a teenager and now lives in Costa Rica.

UN Costa Rica/Danilo Mora

Lilith, not her actual identify, was trafficked from Nicaragua as a youngster and now lives in Costa Rica.

Open borders

All through the COVID-19 pandemic, the Authorities of Costa Rica has saved its doorways open for these in search of worldwide safety.

In response to UNHCR’s border monitoring in Costa Rica, most of the new asylum seekers are discovering employment by way of the seasonal espresso harvest.

“Nonetheless, their financial safety may very well be compromised as soon as the harvest is over, growing the stress on response establishments and UNHCR programmes,” warned the UNHCR spokesperson.

He famous that because of the pandemic-induced financial disaster, which has weakened particular person assist networks that present shelter and financial alternatives to Nicaraguans, Costa Rica is experiencing a excessive stage of unemployment.

This provides to the necessity for assist from UNHCR and its companions.

Off the world’s radar

UNHCR assists Costa Rica and its host communities in welcoming asylum seekers and refugees by way of registration, authorized help, money help, and donations of hygiene and cleansing kits, meals and mattresses, Mr. Cheshirkov mentioned.

The company additionally supplies psychosocial assist, emergency shelter, vocational coaching, and actions to advertise peaceable coexistence between refugees and the communities that host them.

“At a second when the disaster in Ukraine is making day by day headlines, these figures spotlight the significance of remembering different much less seen conditions of displacement that persist and develop all over the world,” mentioned the UNHCR spokesperson.

We urge the worldwide group to proceed supporting Costa Rica and different international locations internet hosting Nicaraguans of their efforts to obtain and supply worldwide safety to those that are compelled to flee their nation”.

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