More Than 60,000 Flee Nicaragua Over Ongoing Political, Social Crisis - UNHCR
More than 60,000 people have fled Nicaragua over the past year due to the ongoing political and social unrest in the Latin American nation, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said on Tuesday
"A year into Nicaragua's political and social crisis, an estimated 62,000 people have fled to neighbouring countries, with the vast majority - some 55,500 - seeking refuge in Costa Rica," UNHCR Spokesperson Liz Throssell said during a press briefing in Geneva.
Those seeking asylum in neighboring countries include students, former public officials, opposition figures, journalists, human rights advocates and farmers, Throssell said. A large number of those who left Nicaragua are in need of health and food assistance, she added.
Without a political solution to the crisis in Nicaragua, people are likely to continue to flee, the release said.
On February 27, Nicaragua's government and opposition resumed long-stalled dialogue on resolving the country's political crisis, with Apostolic Nuncio Waldemar Stanislaw Sommertag acting as a mediator. On the same day, the government freed 100 individuals whom the opposition viewed as political prisoners.
The last attempt to establish a dialogue between the Nicaraguan government and the opposition took place in mid-2018, with the Catholic Church acting as a mediator. However, that round brought no results.
Anti-government protests erupted in Nicaragua in April 2018 when people took to the streets to protest unpopular social security reforms announced by President Daniel Ortega. After several days of demonstrations, Ortega canceled the reforms, but the protests, which were accompanied by violence and clashes, continued.