The United Nations refugee agency today welcomed Uruguay’s approval of laws containing guarantees on the processing of asylum claims and special provisions for the protection of women and children.
UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) spokesperson Jennifer Pagonis told a press briefing in Geneva that the new law, approved by the Uruguayan Congress last week, “provides a very solid framework for the full exercise of refugee rights.”
The laws guarantee that asylum claims must be processed within a reasonable period of time and ensures smoother access to documentation, education, health and employment. There are also special provisions in place for refugee women and unaccompanied children.
Ms. Pagonis noted that the Uruguayan Government, which includes a number of former refugees, has demonstrated a strong interest in human rights and refugee issues, and she added that the new law is the result of a collaborative effort by legislators, civil society groups and UNHCR.
The small Latin American nation, which ratified the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees in 1970, is currently host to refugees from 20 countries.