Uruguay 2017/2018
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Uruguay 2017/2018

Pre-trial detention continued to be imposed widely. Impunity persisted for past crimes; human rights defenders investigating such crimes received death threats. Sexual and reproductive health services were difficult to access in rural areas and objectors to providing abortion continued to obstruct access to legal abortions.

Background

The Monitoring System for Recommendations (SIMORE), which since December 2016 has collected information on Uruguay’s implementation of recommendations by international bodies, still had no effective mechanism for civil society participation. There had yet to be full implementation of the Inter-institutional Network for the Elaboration of Reports and Monitoring of the Implementation of Recommendations and Observations in the Field of Human Rights, also established in 2016.

DETENTION

The National Human Rights Institute, through the National Mechanism for the Prevention of Torture, continued to document and report human rights violations in prisons, including overcrowding and access to health services and education.

Pre-trial detention continued to be imposed in the majority of cases and conditional releases pending trial were often denied.

A proposed amendment to the Code on Children and Adolescents threatened to increase the proportion of cases subject to mandatory pre-trial detention and eliminate time limits for such detentions, endangering the rights of young people in the juvenile penal system.

People with psychosocial disabilities continued to be held against their will and in isolation in psychiatric institutions.

Economic, social and cultural rights

The UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights made several recommendations to Uruguay including increasing the direct applicability of these rights in the judicial system; strengthening legislation against discrimination; adopting a law on mental health in line with international standards; approving the comprehensive bill against gender-based violence; and ensuring the right to work for persons with disabilities.

Impunity

In February, human rights defenders investigating human rights violations that occurred during the military regime (1973-1985) reported receiving death threats; the sources of these threats were not investigated. In May, human rights defenders denounced these threats at a hearing before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, which the Uruguayan authorities did not attend.

The national Working Group on Truth and Justice, implemented in 2015, had not achieved concrete results regarding reparations for victims of past crimes under international law.

In October, the Supreme Court ruled that statutory limitations apply to crimes against humanity, hindering victims’ access to justice, and preventing the prosecution of those suspected of criminal responsibility.

Rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people

There remained no comprehensive anti-discrimination policy protecting LGBTI people from violence in schools and public spaces and ensuring their access to health services.

Violence against women AND GIRLS

There were 27 femicides between January and November, according to official data. The adoption and implementation of a comprehensive law against gender-based violence, as part of Uruguay’s 2016-2019 Action Plan on gender-based violence, was still pending.

Sexual and reproductive rights

The lack of public policies to ensure access to health services in rural areas continued and access to sexual and reproductive health services in these areas remained limited.

Obstacles to accessing abortions persisted due to a lack of regulation of conscientious objection by physicians and other health personnel.

High rates of child and adolescent pregnancy continued, due in part to the absence of adequate sexual and reproductive health services and information to prevent unplanned pregnancies.

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