The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) today hailed Paraguay’s adoption of new legislation governing those who have crossed the country’s borders in search of safe haven. “UNHCR welcomes the signing of the law as an important step towards ensuring refugee protection in Paraguay and in advancing harmonization of refugee protection in the region,” UNHCR spokesman Kris Janowski told reporters in Geneva. The signing of the National Refugee Law by the Asunciòn authorities makes Paraguay the second of the Southern Common Market (MERCOSUR) countries after Brazil to pass such legislation. “UNHCR’s Regional Office for South America has worked with the countries in the MERCOSUR region to develop a model refugee law text to promote a common level of refugee protection in the region as a whole,” the spokesman noted. “Paraguay has become the first country in MERCOSUR to pass a refugee law based on this model law text.” Paraguayan President Luis González Macchi signed the National Refugee Law last week, after it was approved by both houses of the National Congress.