Uruguay 2019
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Uruguay 2019

Impunity for past crimes against humanity continued to be a concern. Prison conditions remained poor, exacerbated by the extensive use of pre-trial detention. The rights of people in vulnerable situations, including women, girls and lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people, continued to be threatened. Institutional flaws enabled the repetition of human rights violations.


The failure to ensure justice, truth and reparation for crimes against humanity committed under the former military regime (1973-1985) remained an outstanding concern. Of the 187 criminal investigations opened on these crimes, 91% had not been prosecuted and convictions had been secured in only 14 cases.

Out of the 196 enforced disappearances acknowledged by state authorities, the fate of 163 people remained unresolved. Only eight of the 44 people forcibly disappeared inside Uruguay had been located.

The Supreme Court upheld again the statute of limitations for crimes against humanity committed between 1973 and 1985, in breach of international law.

Special Reparatory Pension to victims of state violence between 1973-1985 was denied for those who receive other pensions or social benefits.

Public security and prison conditions

Measures taken to improve the capacity and conditions in prisons failed to achieve rehabilitation and crime prevention. As of May, 53% of inmates were repeat offenders, while the imprisonment rate was 315 per 100,000 inhabitants, twice the global average. According to the Attorney General, in early 2019, 44% of those in prison were awaiting trial.

According to the Penitentiary Parliamentary Commissioner, a significant proportion of the prison population experienced very poor living conditions or high levels of violence amounting to ill-treatment.

Migrants and asylum-seekers

An official action plan to guarantee equal access to rights to the growing number of migrants and refugees, especially those in vulnerable conditions, was still absent.

In 2019, 31% of all permanent residence visa applications were submitted by Venezuelans, 26% by Cubans and 2% by Dominicans. According to local organizations, migrants in vulnerable situations from those countries faced a heightened lack of protection of their rights to work under fair conditions, housing and education.

Violence against women

The National Observatory of Criminality and Violence reported 24 femicides in 2019. Of the total homicides of women between January and June, 55% were committed by their partners, former partners or relatives. On 30 December, President Vázquez issued a resolution declaring a national emergency on gender-based violence.

Despite the introduction of a law in 2017 to combat gender-based violence, there were still no basic nationwide mechanisms to prevent violence against women and provide services for victims.

Obstacles to fighting all forms of gender-based violence persisted, including insufficient public funding, frequent judicial sentences against the protection of women based on sexist and classist prejudices, and the failure by police to follow up reports.

Sexual and reproductive rights

In September, the government presented a roadmap for the comprehensive care of pregnant girls under age 15 as part of the National Strategy for the Prevention of Unintended Pregnancy among Adolescents.

Obstacles to voluntary termination of pregnancy persisted due to a lack of regulation of conscience-based refusals to provide abortion services by physicians and other medical personnel.

Rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people (LGBTI)

There was no comprehensive anti-discrimination policy protecting LGBTI people from violence in schools and public spaces.

An attempt to overturn a 2018 law recognizing and protecting trans persons’ rights was defeated in August.