Nicaragua Issues - 2023


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Disputes - international

Nicaragua-El Salvador-Honduras: the 1992 ICJ ruling for El Salvador and Honduras advised a tripartite resolution to establish a maritime boundary in the Gulf of Fonseca, which considers Honduran access to the Pacific; the court ruled, rather, that the Gulf of Fonseca represents a condominium, with control being shared by El Salvador, Honduras, and Nicaragua; the decision allowed for the possibility that the three nations could divide the waters at a later date if they wished to do so

Nicaragua-Costa Rica: Nicaragua and Costa Rica regularly file border dispute cases with the ICJ over the delimitations of the San Juan River and the northern tip of Calero Island, virtually uninhabited areas claimed by both countries; there is an ongoing case in the ICJ to determine Pacific and Atlantic ocean maritime borders as well as land borders; in 2009, the ICJ ruled that Costa Rican vessels carrying out police activities could not use the river, but official Costa Rican vessels providing essential services to riverside inhabitants and Costa Rican tourists could travel freely on the river; in 2011, the ICJ provisionally ruled that both countries must remove personnel from the disputed area; in 2013, the ICJ rejected Nicaragua's 2012 suit to halt Costa Rica's construction of a highway paralleling the river on the grounds of irreparable environmental damage; in 2013, the ICJ, regarding the disputed territory, ordered that Nicaragua should refrain from dredging or canal construction and refill and repair damage caused by trenches connecting the river to the Caribbean and upheld its 2010 ruling that Nicaragua must remove all personnel; in early 2014, Costa Rica brought Nicaragua to the ICJ over offshore oil concessions in the disputed region; in 2018, the ICJ ruled that Nicaragua must remove a military base from a contested coastal area near the San Juan River, and that Costa Rica had sovereignty over the northern part of Isla Portillos, including the coast, but excluding Harbour Head Lagoon; additionally, Honduras was required to pay reparations for environmental damage to part of the wetlands at the mouth of the San Juan River

Nicaragua-Colombia: Nicaragua filed a case with the International Court of Justice (ICJ) against Colombia in 2013 over the delimitation of the Continental shelf beyond the 200 nautical miles from the Nicaraguan coast, as well as over the alleged violation by Colombia of Nicaraguan maritime space in the Caribbean Sea, which contains rich oil and fish resources; as of September 2021, Colombia refuses to abide by the ICJ ruling

Nicaragua-Honduras: none identified

Trafficking in persons

tier rating: Tier 3 — Nicaragua does not fully meet the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking and is not making significant efforts to do so; the government took some steps to address trafficking, prosecuting eight alleged traffickers and convicting four sex traffickers; however, the government continued to downplay the severity of the trafficking problem, denying that traffickers exploited Nicaraguans in foreign countries; officials did not report any investigations, prosecutions, or convictions of government employees, despite endemic corruption and widespread official complicity; the government did not cooperate with NGOs and civil society in a national anti-trafficking coalition seeking to identify and provide services to victims (2022)

trafficking profile: human traffickers exploit domestic and foreign victims in Nicaragua and Nicaraguans abroad; women, children, and migrants are most at risk; women and children are subject to sex trafficking within the country and its two Caribbean autonomous regions, as well as in other Central American countries, Mexico, Spain, and the United States; traffickers used social media to recruit victims with promises of higher-paying jobs in restaurants, hotels, domestic service, construction, and security outside of Nicaragua where they are subjected to sex or labor trafficking; traffickers force children to participate in illegal drug production and trafficking, while others are forced to work in artisanal mines and quarries; children and persons with disabilities are subjected to forced begging; Nicaragua is a destination for child sex tourists from the United States, Canada, and Western Europe (2022)

Illicit drugs

transit route for illicit drugs originating from South America destined for the United States


NOTE: The information regarding Nicaragua on this page is re-published from the 2023 World Fact Book of the United States Central Intelligence Agency and other sources. No claims are made regarding the accuracy of Nicaragua 2023 information contained here. All suggestions for corrections of any errors about Nicaragua 2023 should be addressed to the CIA or the source cited on each page.

This page was last modified 06 Dec 23, Copyright © 2023 ITA all rights reserved.