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Nicaragua parliament approves new refugee protection law

[JURIST] The Nicaraguan National Assembly [official website, in Spanish] has passed new legislation to provide increased legal protections to refugees and asylum seekers coming from other Central American countries and, increasingly, from Africa and Asia [UNHCR report]. Nicaragua [JURIST news archive] occupies a strategic location on a common migratory route north to the US and Canada. The measure adopted Tuesday says refugees have a right to seek employment or use state services, and would provide for legal counsel for underage or especially disadvantaged refugees. It would also compel Nicaraguan security and immigration officials to notify refugees of the services available to them.

The law was passed after extensive lobbying by the UN High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) [official website]. A Mexico City-based UNHCR regional representative characterized the law as "a positive step forward in upholding refugee rights as human rights." UNHCR has more.

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