Uruguay signed a Framework Agreement for the resettlement of refugees with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in 2007. The Framework Agreement was endorsed by the Parliament of Uruguay through Law 18.382, passed in 2008, also accessible here.
Under the Law 18.076 of 2006 on the Status of Refugees, the Refugee Commission (Comisión de Refugiados – CORE) is the competent body to examine and review resettlement cases in Uruguay. CORE is composed, inter alia, of a representative of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs; a representative of the National Department for Migration designated by the Minister of the Interior, and a representative of a non-governmental organization appointed by the Regional Representative of UNHCR in Argentina.
UNHCR is regularly invited to attend CORE’s meetings and is able to participate (but without voting rights) as well as exercise its supervisory role.
UNHCR submits resettlement applications to CORE for a dossier selection. Uruguay also conducts in-country selection missions after CORE screens cases from among candidates nominated by the UNHCR. Priority is given to the resettlement needs of refugees from Latin America.
The beneficiaries of resettlement to Uruguay must be refugees under the terms of the 1951 Convention, the 1967 Protocol, and the Cartagena Declaration of 1984.
The refugees considered for resettlement must also fall under one of these categories:
- need for legal and physical protection;
- violence and torture survivors;
- refugees with medical needs;
- women at risk;
- unaccompanied children and adolescents;
- older refugees;
- refugees without local integration prospects.
Admissibility for Resettlement
Family Reunification for Resettled Refugees
Article 21 of Law 18.076 on the Status of Refugees, defines family reunification as a ‘‘right’’ of the refugees in Uruguay. This right is extended to the refugees resettled to Uruguay.
The right to family reunification is granted to the refugee’s spouse, partner, children and other relatives by consanguinity within the fourth degree, and to the second degree by marriage, unless exclusion clauses or cessation clauses are applied.
Applications for family reunification are filed by the refugee in Uruguay, and are channeled through the Regional Office of UNHCR in Argentina.
Sources: this information has been taken from the Uruguay country chapter in the UNHCR Resettlement Handbook.