Information on Nicaraguan refugees being forcibly returned by Costa Rican authorities to Nicaragua [CRI9670]

According to an official of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in San Jose, Costa Rica, Nicaraguan refugees can return to Nicaragua if they voluntarily express their desire to do so by way of voluntary repatriation (6 Nov. 1991).

The official further stated that an amnesty decree was in effect between 2 July 1990 and 2 July 1991 during which, any undocumented individual could apply to legalize their residence (Ibid.). According to various sources in Costa Rica, approximately 20,000 to 30,000 people chose to abide by the amnesty decree (Ibid.). Under the amnesty law, if people can prove a "tie" to Costa Rica (e.g. son or daughter born in Costa Rica), they would qualify to remain in Costa Rica as permanent residents whereas others would qualify for temporary status renewable on a yearly basis (Ibid.).

Further information on the subject could not be found among the sources currently available to the IRBDC.


UNHCR, San Jose, Costa Rica. 6 November 1991. Telephone Interview with Official.