Last Updated: Thursday, 31 July 2014, 17:47 GMT

Treaty on Asylum and Political Refuge

Publisher Regional Refugee Instruments & Related
Publication Date 4 August 1939
Cite as Regional Refugee Instruments & Related, Treaty on Asylum and Political Refuge, 4 August 1939, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/3ae6b3833.html [accessed 1 August 2014]
Comments Adopted on 4 August 1939, at Montevideo, Uruguay.
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

Article 1

Asylum may be granted without distinction of nationality, and without prejudice to the rights and obligations of protection appertaining to the State to which the refugees belong.

The State which grants asylum does not thereby incur an obligation to admit the refugees into its territory, except in cases where they are not given admission by other States.

Article 2

Asylum may be granted only in embassies, legations, men-of-war, military camps or military airplanes, and exclusively to persons pursued for political reasons or offenses, or under circumstances involving concurrent political offenses, which do not legally permit of extradition. The chiefs of mission may also receive refugees in their residences, in cases where the former do not live on the premises of the embassies or legations.

Article 3

Asylum shall not be granted to persons accused of political offenses, who shall have been indicted or condemned previously for common offenses, by the ordinary tribunals.

The determination of the causes which induce the asylum appertains to the State which grants it.

Asylum may not be granted to deserters from the sea-, land-, or air forces, except when the act is clearly of a political character.

Article 4

The diplomatic agent or military commander who grants asylum shall immediately communicate the names of the refugees to the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of the State where the act in question occurred, or to the administrative authorities of the locality, if the said act has taken place outside the seat of government, except when grave circumstances materially impede such communication or make it dangerous to the safety of the refugees.

Article 5

While the asylum continues, the refugees shall not be permitted to commit acts which may disturb the public tranquillity or may tend toward participation in, or influence upon, political activities. The diplomatic agents or military commanders shall require of the refugees information as to their personal history, and a promise not to enter into external communications without the express intervention of the former. This promise shall be in writing and signed; and if the refugees should refuse to accept, or should violate, any of these conditions, the diplomatic agent or commander shall immediately terminate the asylum. The refugees may be forbidden to carry with them articles other than those destined for personal use, the papers which belong to them, and the money necessary for their living expenses, the deposit of any other securities or articles in the place of asylum being prohibited.

Article 6

The Government of the State may demand that a given refugee be removed from the national territory within the shortest possible time; and the diplomatic agent or military commander who has granted the asylum may, for his part, demand the necessary guaranties before the refugee is permitted to leave the country, with due regard for the inviolability of the latter's person, and of the papers belonging to him and carried with him at the time when he received asylum, as well as for the funds necessary to support him for a reasonable time. In the absence of such guaranties, the departure may be postponed until the local authorities shall make them available.

Article 7

Once they have left the State, the refugees shall not be landed in any other part of it. In case an ex-refugee should return to the country in question, he shall not be accorded new asylum if the disturbance which led to the original grant subsists.

Article 8

When the number of refugees exceeds the normal capacity of the places of refuge specified in Article 2, the diplomatic agents or military commanders may provide other places, under the protection of their flag, for the safety and lodging of the said refugees. In such cases, the agents or commanders must communicate that fact to the authorities.

Article 9

Men-of-war or military airplanes temporarily located in dry-docks or workshops for repairs, shall not accord protection to persons who take refuge in them.

Article 10

If, in a case of severance of relations, the diplomatic representative who has granted asylum should have to leave the territory of the country where he is located, he shall depart from it accompanied by the refugees; or, if this should be impossible for some reason not dependent upon the choice of the refugees or of the diplomatic agent, he may deliver them to the agent of a third State, with the guaranties specified in this treaty. Such delivery shall be effected by the transfer of the said refugees to the premises of the diplomatic mission which shall have accepted the charge in question, or by leaving the refugees on the premises where the archives of the departing diplomatic mission are kept; and these premises shall remain under the direct protection of the diplomatic agent to whom that function has been intrusted. In either case, the local Ministry for Foreign Affairs shall be duly advised, in conformity with the provisions of Article 4.

Chapter II - ON ASYLUM IN FOREIGN TERRITORY

Article 11

Asylum granted within the territory of the high contracting parties, in conformity with the present treaty, is an inviolable asylum for persons pursued under the conditions described in Article 2; but it is the duty of the State to prevent the refugees from committing within its territory, acts which may endanger the public peace of the State from which they come.

The determination of the causes that induce the asylum appertains to the State which grants it.

The grant of asylum does not entail for the State which makes that grant, any obligation to admit the refugees indefinitely into its territory.

Article 12

Political emigrants shall not be permitted to establish juntas or committees for the purpose of instigating or promoting disturbances of order in any of the contracting States. Such juntas or committees shall be disbanded, upon proof of their subversive character, by the authorities of the State where they are found to exist.

Discontinuance of the benefits of asylum does not imply authorization to place a refugee in the territory of the pursuing State.

Article 13

Upon the request of the interested State, the one which has granted asylum shall undertake to keep watch over or to intern political emigrants, within a reasonable distance from itself distance from its frontiers. The State receiving the request shall determine the propriety of the petition and shall fix the distance in question.

Article 14

The State making the request shall be liable for all expenses incurred in the internment of political refugees and emigrants.

Prior to the internment of the refugees, the States involved shall come to an agreement concerning their maintenance.

Article 15

Political internees shall advise the Government of the State where they are located, when they decide to leave its territory. Their departure shall be permitted on condition that they do not go to the country of their origin, and notice of this permission shall be given to the interested State.

Chapter III - GENERAL PROVISIONS

Article 16

Any difference which may arise concerning the application of this treaty shall be decided through diplomatic channels, or, in default thereof, shall be submitted to arbitration or judicial decision, provided that there is a tribunal whose jurisdiction both parties recognize.

Article 17

Any State which has not signed the present treaty may adhere to it by sending its instrument of adhesion to the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of the Oriental Republic of Uruguay, which shall notify the other high contracting parties, through diplomatic channels, of that adhesion.

Article 18

This treaty shall be ratified by the high contracting parties in accordance with their constitutional rules. The original treaty and the instruments of ratification shall be deposited with the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of the Oriental Republic of Uruguay, which shall communicate the ramifications, through diplomatic channels, to the other contracting States. The treaty shall go into effect among the high contracting parties in the order in which they have deposited their ramifications. The corresponding notification shall be considered as an exchange of ratifications.

Article 19

This treaty shall remain in force indefinitely, but may be denounced through notice given two years in advance, after the lapse of which period it shall cease to bind the denouncing State, but shall continue to be binding upon the other signatory States. Denunciations must be addressed to the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of the Oriental Republic of Uruguay, which shall transmit them to the other contracting States.

In Witness Whereof, the above-mentioned Plenipotentiaries sign the present treaty in the City of Montevideo, on the 4th day of August, 1939.

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