More than 300 people have been killed and 2,000 injured in crackdowns by Nicaraguan police and armed groups in protests that began in April over an abortive plan by leftist President Daniel Ortega’s government to reduce welfare benefits.
U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley said that if the situation in Nicaragua continued to worsen, it could cause a spike in migrants fleeing into neighboring countries.
“When human rights are denied, the violence and instability that follow spill over borders,” she said, comparing Nicaragua to Venezuela, which has seen more than 1.6 million people leave since 2015, according to the U.N. refugee agency UNHCR.
Nicaragua’s government rejected Haley’s contention.
Still, the representative for neighboring Costa Rica said that the country had seen a “significant increase” in requests for asylum from Nicaraguans since the protests began: a total of 12,830 in the first eight months of the year.
The U.N. Security Council is charged with maintaining international peace and security.
Representatives from Russia, Bolivia and Venezuela backed the Nicaraguan government in arguing that the situation in the country was not undermining the region’s stability.