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Section 2. Respect for Civil Liberties, Including:

d. Freedom of Movement, Internally Displaced Persons, Protection of Refugees, and Stateless Persons

The law provides for freedom of internal movement, foreign travel, emigration, and repatriation for citizens and the government generally respected these rights. The government strictly controlled the entry of persons affiliated with some groups, specifically humanitarian and faith-based organizations.

Abuse of Migrants, Refugees, and Stateless Persons: The government enforced strict controls for migrants seeking to cross the country from Costa Rica. The government reported the drowning deaths of at least 10 illegal migrants in Lake Nicaragua.

The Nicaraguan National Commission for Refugees had not met since 2015. The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) noted that migration authorities generally refused to register any new asylum applications. UNHCR reported that in 2015, 185 new applications for asylum were registered but had not yet been considered. Another 205 claims were reported during the year, but UNHCR did not have further information on government actions regarding these requests. Opposition members noted the contrast between a lack of response to new requests for refugee status and asylum by the government, and the promptness with which former Salvadorian President Mauricio Funes received political asylum status. Without access to official information, it was impossible to know of other requests that were accepted and the swiftness with which they were processed.


Access to Asylum: The law provides for the granting of asylum or refugee status, and the government has established a system for providing protection to refugees. Only the executive branch or the country’s embassies abroad may grant asylum for political persecution.

Durable Solutions: According to UNHCR, the government recognized 61 persons for refugee status in 2015.

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U.S. Department of State

The Lessons of 1989: Freedom and Our Future