23,000 Nicaraguans seek asylum in Costa Rica: UN
GENEVA, Switzerland — Nearly 23,000 people fleeing turmoil in Nicaragua have sought asylum in neighboring Costa Rica, the UN refugee agency said Tuesday, as it announced a beefed up presence in the region.
Three months of protests against Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega’s rule and the brutal response by security forces and paramilitary groups have killed more than 300 people, according to rights groups.
“The number of asylum applications by Nicaraguans in neighboring Costa Rica and other countries has increased exponentially,” UNHCR spokesman William Spindler told reporters in Geneva.
Costa Rican authorities have registered nearly 8,000 asylum claims since April and given future appointments to 15,000 other asylum seekers, a delay needed because the processing system is “overwhelmed,” Spindler said.
“UNHCR is strengthening its presence in Costa Rica’s northern border region and… is gearing up its response capacity to provide immediate protection and assistance to thousands of Nicaraguan refugees and asylum seekers,” he added.
While Costa Rica has endured the brunt of the influx, Panama, Mexico and the United States have also seen an increase in Nicaraguan arrivals, UNHCR said.
Ortega, 72, headed a left-wing Sandinista government during the Cold War, and returned to power in 2007.
Protesters have demanded that he and his powerful vice president, wife Rosario Murillo, resign.
You may be interested
Costa Rica opens Gold Cup 2019 with commanding win over NicaraguaAlejandro Zúñiga - June 16, 2019
LA SABANA, San José — It was a historic match, and one with strong political overtones. As part of the…
Slothy Sunday: Bilbo, the Sloth Super-Dad!Ally Chamberlin / Toucan Rescue Ranch - June 16, 2019
Today is a celebration of all fathers -- young and old, short and tall, by blood or simply by love.…
Expohore 2019 reflects growth of tourism in Costa RicaJacob Spetzler - June 15, 2019
The Costa Rican Hotels and Restaurants Expo, Exphore, took over the Pedregal Events Center in Heredia from Tuesday to Thursday…