United Nations Observer Group in Central America (ONUCA)

Groupe d'observation des Nations Unies en Amérique centrale

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7 Nov 1989, by resolution 644 (1989) of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), following a request from the five Central American Governments (Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala (Guatemala), Honduras and Nicaragua). It was part of United Nations Peace-keeping Operations (DOMP), within the framework of United Nations (UN). The Security Council decided, by resolution 730 (1992), to terminate, effective 17 Jan 1992, the mandate of ONUCA and transfer certain personnel and equipment from ONUCA to ONUSAL.


The original mandate was to verify Central American countries' compliance with their undertakings, in the Esquipulas II Agreement of 1987, to cease aid to irregular forces and insurrectionist movements in the region and not to allow their territory to be used for attacks on other States.

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Headquarters are established in Tegucigalpa (Honduras), and liaison offices in the capitals of the five Central American countries. The military observers are grouped in verification centres and smaller operational patrol posts set up throughout the region. Mobile teams of observers carry out regular patrols by road vehicles, by helicopters and, in the Gulf of Fonseca and certain other coastal areas and rivers, by patrol boats and light speedboats. The mobile teams also make spot checks on their own initiative and undertake immediate ad hoc inspections to investigate allegations of violations. Monitoring is concentrated in those areas where violations of the Esquipulas II security undertakings are most likely to occur.

Developments in Nicaragua, following UN-sponsored elections there on 25 Feb 1990, brought about two enlargements of ONUCA's mandate. The Security Council authorized, 27 Mar 1990, an enlargement of the mandate and the addition of armed personnel to ONUCA's strength to enable the Group to play part in the voluntary demobilization of the Nicaraguan resistance. Accordingly, ONUCA was temporarily enlarged to include a 700-strong battalion form Venezuela. The Council authorized, 20 Apr 1990, a further expansion of the mandate to enable ONUCA to monitor a cease-fire and the separation of forces agreed by the Nicaraguan parties as part of the demobilization process. Following the successful completion of the demobilization process (demobilization was essentially completed on 28 June 1990), the Venezuelan battalion was withdrawn and ONUCA reverted to its original mandate and concept of operations.

ONUCA's current deployment consists of a central headquarters in Tegucigalpa, observer group headquarters at each of the five capitals (San José, San Salvador (El Salvador), Guatemala (Guatemala) City, Tegucigalpa and Managua), and 3 verification centres outside the capitals and 8 operational patrol posts. Instrumental in setting up United Nations Observer Mission in El Salvador (ONUSAL).


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Relations with Inter-Governmental Organizations

Relations with 1 inter-governmental organizations.
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Members in 10 countries
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Type I Classification

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Type II Classification

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Subjects *

  • Research, Standards
    • Inspection, Tests
  • Defence
    • Military Forces
  • Government
    • Revolution
  • International Relations
    • United Nations

UN Sustainable Development Goals **

GOAL 16: Peace and Justice Strong Institutions



Last News Received

13. Feb 1992
* Subject classification is derived from the organization names and aims.
** UN SDGs are linked to the subject classification.

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