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Costa Rica: The Immediate Action Unit (UAI), whether it currently exists, and reports of its targeting of politically active peasants or peasant groups, 1996-1999

Publisher Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada
Author Research Directorate, Immigration and Refugee Board, Canada
Publication Date 1 May 1999
Citation / Document Symbol CRI32037.E
Cite as Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Costa Rica: The Immediate Action Unit (UAI), whether it currently exists, and reports of its targeting of politically active peasants or peasant groups, 1996-1999, 1 May 1999, CRI32037.E, available at: [accessed 26 May 2016]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.


During a 25 May 1999 telephone interview, an officer of the legal branch of the office of the Attorney General of Costa Rica stated that the Unidad de Acción Inmediata (Immediate Action Unit, UAI) was a tactical unit of the Ministry of Public Security that ceased to exist before 1996. The office stated that it consisted of Guardia Civil (Civil Guard) policemen. The unit was formed, like other police and government units sometimes are, not by a law or legal decree, but by a simple budget allocation; it was disbanded the same way, without a legal decree or law, during the previous presidential administration (ibid.).

The San José daily La Nación reported in August 1995 on the trial of three former policemen accused of killing a 12-year old boy during a police operation in 1990, where one of them received a three-year jail term and the two others were acquitted (17 Aug. 1995; ibid. 19 Aug. 1995). The reports refer to the UAI as no longer in existence by August 1995 (ibid.).

No references to the UAI in or after 1996 could be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate.

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum. Please see below the list of additional sources consulted in researching this information request.


La Nación [San José]. 19 August 1995. "El país: Leve condena." [Internet] [Accessed 25 May 1999]

_____. 17 August 1995. "El país: Juicio contra ex-policías." [Internet] [Accessed 25 May 1999]

Procuraduría General de la República, San José. 25 May 1999. Telephone interview with legal department official.

Additional Sources Consulted

Central America NewsPak [Austin, Tex.]. 1996-1997.

Central America Report [Guatemala City]. 1996-1997.

Electronic sources: IRB databases, REFWORLD, Global NewsBank, WNC, Internet.


        This list is not exhaustive. It does not include country-specific publications available at the Resource Centre.

Copyright notice: This document is published with the permission of the copyright holder and producer Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB). The original version of this document may be found on the offical website of the IRB at Documents earlier than 2003 may be found only on Refworld.

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