UN Office for Refugees Reports 80,000 Nicaraguans Seeking Safe Haven

The majority of the Nicaraguan refugees opposing the Ortega regime have taken refuge in Costa Rica.  Photo: AFP

By El Nuevo Diario

HAVANA TIMES – In Nicaragua, political persecution and human rights violations have been driving a new large-scale displacement, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has denounced.

In their most recent report, titled “Displacement in Central America”, the UNHCR reveals that 80,000 Nicaraguans have requested asylum or refugee status in countries around the world.

The principal factor driving the forced displacement of Nicaraguans, according to the report, is the socio-political crisis in Nicaragua which began in April 2018. This crisis has caused thousands to make the decision to flee the violence and human rights violations and to seek a secure refuge.

In the testimonies gathered by the UNHCR during their campaign “With love from Central America”, a Nicaraguan speaks of the difficulties he faced while fleeing from the persecution he suffered in Nicaragua for participating in the anti-government protests of 2018.

Enrique, the pseudonym the UNHCR gave this 69-year-old Nicaraguan, declared that he was abducted by a group of armed pro-government civilians. He accuses them of torturing him before setting him free.

This Nicaraguan had to cross rivers and jungles in the extreme heat, hiding himself among sacks of different products, in order to find refuge in Costa Rica and leave behind the persecution he had been subjected to for participating in the anti-government protests, according to his affidavit.

The main countries where Nicaraguans have sought refuge are Costa Rica, Panama, Mexico and the United States, according to the UNHCR report.

In a year of crisis, they state, Costa Rica received more than 33,000 requests for refuge or asylum.  However, the number of requests greatly overwhelmed their capacity to receive and process these claims; there remain some 28,095 Nicaraguans who are still waiting for their requests to be formally resolved by the Costa Rican authorities.

Enrique’s family is one of the fortunate ones: they have currently been reunited, according to the UNHCR report, since the Nicaraguan wouldn’t give up until he had brought his wife, his two daughters and a grandchild to Costa Rica.

Enrique and his family face economic problems, since they’re surviving only from temporary, informal employment. Nevertheless, they declare that they’re grateful to be “together and in safety”.

Possible destabilization

UNHCR warns that if the socio-political crisis in Nicaragua “degenerates” the additional influx of Nicaraguans seeking refugee status in countries such as Costa Rica, Mexico, Guatemala and Panama “could significantly destabilize the region”.

For the right to refuge.

The UN body charged with overseeing the refugee situation worldwide, estimated that 2019 could bring a new quantity of 20,000 to 25,000 asylum seekers from Nicaragua, principally in Costa Rica.

Added to the pressure generated in the region by the displacement of Nicaraguans, the number of people from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras seeking safe haven anywhere in the world grew by more than 20% in 2018, as a product of socio-economic instability, poverty, gang violence, threats, extortion, gang recruitment, prostitution, or sexual or gender-based violence.

In general, over 430,000 people from Nicaragua and Central America have been uprooted from their homes, according to the international agency.

The countries and communities that receive them, such as Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico and Panama have been doing everything possible to welcome the more than 128,000 people forced to flee in 2018 alone, the report specifies.

However, the UNHCR notes that this “constant increase of people in search of a safe haven is overstretching their hosts’ capacity to cope, straining limited services that also serve the local population.”

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees also estimates that deportations could rise to 250,000 in 2019; of these, at least 12,000 people would need protection upon their return.

6 thoughts on “UN Office for Refugees Reports 80,000 Nicaraguans Seeking Safe Haven

  • “evolving left politics” spawn dictators and repression! History is proof Manuel!

  • HT is nothing but a mouthpiece for promoting US regime change narratives! Why don’t you write a piece about the 9 million displaced Colombians (6 million of them in Venezuela) who have fled their communities due to the terror campaign their government has enabled to make room for US transnational exploitation? Or about the gross human rights violations taking place in Honduras, which are immensely worse than anything happening in Nicaragua, Cuba, and Venezuela? And people who read these articles and blindly believe them: do some research!

  • I’ve got three family members who are interested in leaving Nicaragua but like all of this so called asylum seekers or refugees they want to come to the US, why you ask, well to make mo money mo money and mo money, it is all b’s you guy got to know that they are taking advantage of the situation

  • The Nicaraguan people are screaming for help, the dictatorship from Ortega (precident) Rosario Murillo his wife (viceprecident) are repressing,and who ever don’t don’t agree or open their mouth against the way they rule, become a target to be murder! Nicaraguan people are screaming for international help to grt rid of this genocide government, PLEASE HELP THE GOVERMENT IS KILLING TO MANY YOUNG LIFE, TO MANY INNOCENT PEOPLE! Please help, when the Nicaraguan dictatorship wants to make the rest of the world believe that Nicaraguan is back to normal, don’t believe him, just look at the number of people getting out of the country because they fear for their life. We aññ know that some people , eith the president aproval they have a licence to kill!! Please help, speak with people in goverment in your countrie and help is rally to get rid of this dirty goverment!

  • It’s a vile dictatorship in league with Maduro and Castro.
    A dead end.

  • You are all must start to understand the evolving left politics that are meant for the people, not the billionaire s interests of this world whatever continent of this Earth they have set base.

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