Argentina: Refugee law approved by Congress

Briefing Notes, 10 November 2006

This is a summary of what was said by UNHCR spokesperson William Spindler to whom quoted text may be attributed at the press briefing, on 10 November 2006, at the Palais des Nations in Geneva.

We welcome the approval of a refugee law by Argentina's Congress last Wednesday. The law provides a very solid framework for the full exercise of refugees' rights. It guarantees the processing of asylum claims in a reasonable timeframe, facilitates access to documentation, education, health and employment. It has special provisions for refugee women, children and victims of violence.

Argentina has been making steady progress in its handling of refugee issues over the past few years, including an expanded refugee committee, more efficient procedures and the initiation of a resettlement programme in 2005. The adoption of a refugee law is a necessary and welcome step in the same direction.

It is the result of the current government's demonstrated interest in human rights and refugee issues, as well as of a concerted effort by refugees, legislators, civil society and of UNHCR's Office in Argentina.

Argentina ratified the 1951 Refugee Convention in 1961. It has been a member of UNHCR's Executive Committee since 1979. There are more than 3,000 refugees in Argentina from some 60 countries.

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Osvaldo Laport

Osvaldo Laport