PBI-Nicaragua accompanies human rights defenders living in exile in Costa Rica

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Nicaraguan human rights defender Genesis.

The Peace Brigades International-Nicaragua Project accompanies Nicaraguan human rights defenders living in exile in Costa Rica.

Since the social crisis of April 2018 and the intensification of repression against Nicaraguan citizens, 108,000 people have fled the country, of which it is estimated that approximately 85,000 have sought protection in Costa Rica.

Many people who have played a key role in the defence of human rights in Nicaragua are now in Costa Rica continuing their active role in exile, making visible the continuous violations in search of guarantees for the full exercise and defence of human rights.

PBI-Nicaragua along with the Acceso Foundation have highlighted the testimonies of eight Nicaraguan human rights defenders now living in exile.

Genesis, one of these defenders, says:

“To continue defending human rights from exile is a great challenge, but for me it has meant breaking down that imaginary line that we call a border, because the defence of human rights goes beyond the place where we are, at the same time it has meant recognising me as a human being, defending my rights and my life, seeing myself from exile as a woman with rights. From this piece of land where I am, despite the kilometres, nothing stops me from continuing to work and making the Nicaraguan socio-political situation visible.”

To read all eight testimonies, please click here.

PBI accompaniment in Costa Rica

PBI launched this accompaniment project for Nicaraguans in exile in March 2020.

As noted above, this formation followed the protests against controversial changes to social security programs and police repression.

In 2019, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights reported 20% of the Nicaraguans in exile were students who took part in protests, 23% are human rights defenders and 18% are people who helped demonstrators with food, medicine and safe houses. Others are doctors, journalists and former soldiers or police.

The Associated Press reports: “Some formerly middle-class citizens are having trouble putting food on the table and keeping a roof over their heads, while others from the working class are reduced to living in near-indigence.”

This year will be additionally challenging given the general elections to be held on November 7 to elect the President and National Assembly.

Earlier this month, four opposition candidates for President were arrested and other prominent critics, including Sandinista icon Dora María Téllez, have also been arrested.

The emigrants, now by Eduardo Galeano “Since always, butterflies and swallows and flamingos fly away from the cold, year after year, and whales swim in search of another sea and salmon and trout in search of their river. They travel thousands of leagues, on the free paths of air and water. On the other hand, the paths of human exodus are not free. In immense caravans, the fugitives from the impossible life march.”

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