GENEVA / NICARAGUA DISPLACEMENT

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16-Apr-2019 00:01:55
The UN refugee agency said “students, former public officials, opposition figures, journalists, doctors, human rights defenders and farmers” are among some 62,000 Nicaraguans who have fled their country in fear for their lives since anti-Government demonstrators began last April. UNTV CH

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STORY: GENEVA / NICARAGUA DISPLACEMENT
TRT: 1:55
SOURCE: UNTV CH
RESTRICTIONS: NONE
LANGUAGE: ENGLISH / NATS

DATELINE: 16 APRIL 2019, GENEVA, SWITZERLAND

SHOTLIST:

FILE - NEW YORK CITY

1. Wide shot, Palais des Nations exterior

APRIL 2019, NEW YORK CITY

2. Wide shot, press room
3. Close up, photographer
4. SOUNDBITE (English) Liz Throssell, Spokesperson, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR):
“An estimated 62,000 people have fled to neighbouring countries, with the vast majority - some 55,500 – seeking refuge in Costa Rica.”
5. Close up, journalist typing
6. SOUNDBITE (English) Liz Throssell, Spokesperson, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR):
“Among those seeking asylum are students, former public officials, opposition figures, journalists, doctors, human rights defenders and farmers. A significant number arrive in need of health care, psychological support, shelter and food assistance.”
7. Wide shot, journalists
8. SOUNDBITE (English) Liz Throssell, Spokesperson, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR):
“The people who are fleeing are coming from different parts of Nicaragua and they are travelling to the Costa Rican border, trying to avoid contact with the police and paramilitary groups. Some are travelling in trucks, hidden amongst sacks.”
9. Wide shot, journalist
10. SOUNDBITE (English) Liz Throssell, Spokesperson, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR):
“The kinds of reasons that people have been giving for fleeing are the fear of losing their lives; being attacked or kidnapped by paramilitary groups. Some have received direct threats or have been persecuted; others fear for their lives because their communities have been a target of violence; or some, because their relatives are being sought. So, we do feel that it is overwhelmingly a refugee flow.”
11. Med shot, journalists
12. SOUNDBITE (English) Liz Throssell, Spokesperson, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR):
“As of March 2019, some 29,500 Nicaraguans had formally filed asylum applications. But with reception capacity overstretched, 26,000 others are waiting to have their claims formalized.”
13. Close up, journalists typing
14. Wide shot, room
15. Med shot, journalists

STORYLINE:

The UN refugee agency said “students, former public officials, opposition figures, journalists, doctors, human rights defenders and farmers” are among some 62,000 Nicaraguans who have fled their country in fear for their lives since anti-Government demonstrators began last April.

Echoing concerns from the UN’s human rights office and others about the deteriorating situation in the Central American country, where hundreds of activists have been arrested in recent months and some 300 people reportedly died between April and August last year alone, UNHCR said that families with young children are now taking extreme measures to cross the border.

Speaking to journalists in Geneva today (16 Apr), UNHCR spokesperson Elizabeth Throssell said, “The kinds of reasons that people have been giving for fleeing are the fear of losing their lives; being attacked or kidnapped by paramilitary groups. Some have received direct threats or have been persecuted; others fear for their lives because their communities have been a target of violence; or some, because their relatives are being sought. So, we do feel that it is overwhelmingly a refugee flow.”

The latest information from the Costa Rican authorities indicates that at least 29,500 Nicaraguans have filed asylum applications to date. UNHCR has commended the country’s open-door policy, but noted that capacity to shelter everyone remains overstretched, meaning that 26,000 others are waiting to have their claims formalized.

Throssell noted that the people who are fleeing are “coming from different parts of Nicaragua and they are travelling to the Costa Rican border, trying to avoid contact with the police and paramilitary groups. Some are travelling in trucks, hidden amongst sacks.” She added, “A significant number arrive in need of health care, psychological support, shelter and food assistance.”

Without a political solution to the crisis in Nicaragua, people are likely to continue to flee, UNHCR warned.

Throssell said funds are urgently needed to strengthen the agency’s humanitarian response to allow asylum-seekers in dire need of assistance to access aid instead of having to resort to informal jobs to pay for rent and food at rates beyond their reach.
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UNTV CH
Alternate Title
unifeed190416b
Asset ID
2380836