The socio-political unrest in Nicaragua that began in April 2018 continues to drive population movement into Costa Rica. People enter through the two border crossings, but most through the many irregular points in the northern zone. Those who choose to settle in the northern area are predominantly farmers and families with limited income or formal education.
While the national legal framework allows asylum seekers to access social services such as education and healthcare, the rapid increase in asylum claims since early 2018 has overburdened capacities, causing delays, which increase their vulnerability. UNHCR has been present in the northern area of Costa Rica since the onset of the socio-political crisis in Nicaragua and inaugurated a Field Office in Upala in December 2018 to continue its focus on safeguarding the basic rights of refuges and asylum seekers through protection assistance, border monitoring, provision of basic needs to the most vulnerable, and activities that promote peaceful coexistence and local integration.