More than 110,000 Nicaraguans have sought international protection globally, the majority of them in neighbouring Costa Rica. To date, 8,700 Nicaraguans have been recognized as refugees in different countries around the world with many more awaiting decisions on their claims.
The socio-economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic in hosting countries has increased the vulnerability of refugees and asylum-seekers from Nicaragua, and the challenges they face to cover basic needs, exposing them to renewed protection risks such as evictions and discrimination.
In close coordination with governments and local authorities, partners, hosting communities and refugees, UNHCR works to enhance access to asylum, and health care, and to promote socioeconomic inclusion. UNHCR also continues engaging with the private sector to join the humanitarian response.
The socio-economic impact of Covid-19 and pandemic-related restrictions have exacerbated the vulnerabilities faced by many Nicaraguan refugees and asylum-seekers. Border restrictions have led to increased irregular movements, which pose additional protection risks for those trying to flee. Assessments in host countries show that pandemic-related restrictions have forced many Nicaraguan refugees and asylum-seekers to go hungry, eating only once a day or sometimes not at all. Unemployment has soared, leading many to borrow money or work informally in exchange for food. Reports of eviction risks have also risen.
Asylum countries and communities have shown great solidarity with Nicaraguan refugees and asylum-seekers, and it will be key to keep supporting them as they ensure protection and promote local integration of Nicaraguans amid a challenging pandemic context. UNHCR has renewed its call on the international community not to turn a blind eye to the plight of Nicaraguan refugees and asylum-seekers, as the pandemic exacerbates their vulnerabilities and needs.