Uruguay: UNHCR welcomes new refugee law

Briefing Notes, 12 December 2006

This is a summary of what was said by UNHCR spokesperson Jennifer Pagonis to whom quoted text may be attributed at the press briefing, on 12 December 2006, at the Palais des Nations in Geneva.

We welcome the approval of a refugee law by Uruguay's Congress last week. The law provides a very solid framework for the full exercise of refugee rights. It guarantees the processing of asylum claims in a reasonable period of time, facilitates access to documentation, education, health and employment. It also has special provisions for refugee women and unaccompanied children. Uruguay's current government is made up of a number of former refugees, and has demonstrated its interest in human rights and refugee issues. The approval of the law by Congress is the result of concerted efforts by legislators, civil society and UNHCR. Uruguay ratified the 1951 Convention in 1970 and currently hosts refugees from some 20 Latin American, Asian, African and eastern European countries.