Assistance to people in a vulnerable situation

UNHCR gives special attention to vulnerable refugees and asylum-seekers. That is, groups such as the elderly, housewives, victims of gender-based violence, people with mental health issues, unaccompanied children and others.

UNHCR, along with its partner organizations ACAI and RET, arrange the necessary applications that the government (Migration Office, National Institute of Women, PANI, Victim Protection Office, etc.) requires, in order to help those with the greatest needs.

Remember that if you find yourself in a dangerous situation, you can contact the emergency services directly by dialing 9-1-1. For example, if you are experiencing domestic violence, a medical emergency or you were a victim of a robbery.


If, for some reason, you think that your life is in danger in Costa Rica, you can request an interview with the ACAI so that your case may be considered for resettlement. Resettlement is a program for moving refugees to a third country, in the event that the victim cannot safely stay in Costa Rica, nor return to their home country. It is important that you bear in mind that resettlement is NOT a right for refugees, and that only a small number of people may be included in this program.

Protection for victims of gender-based violence

UNHCR, working alongside the Municipality of the Disadvantaged (Municipalidad de Desamparados), runs the program “House of Rights” (“Casa de Derechos”). This program offers psychosocial care and specialized legal assistance to refugees and asylum-seekers that are experiencing domestic violence, sexual abuse, human trafficking and other serious issues.