Eastern Republic of Uruguay
Head of state and government: José Alberto Mujica Cordano

The fight for justice for human rights violations committed during the period of civil and military rule between 1973 and 1985 faced a possible step back following a Supreme Court decision in 2013. There were concerns over barriers to women's access to abortions.


Uruguay was reviewed under the UN Universal Periodic Review (UPR) process in January and accepted important recommendations, including to combat all forms of discrimination.

Uruguay ratified the UN Arms Trade Treaty in September.

Six detainees from the US detention centre in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, were resettled in Uruguay in December.

General elections took place in October. Frente Amplio won following the second round in November.


In February 2013 the Supreme Court overturned two key articles of Law 18.831, adopted in 2011, which established that crimes committed during the period of civil and military rule between 1973 and 1985 were crimes against humanity and that no statute of limitations could be applied. The Supreme Court also concluded that no crimes against humanity were committed at the time because they were made criminal under national law only in 2006, and therefore they were subject to a statute of limitations.[1] During 2014 little progress was made to ensure that complaints for past human rights violations would be fully investigated.

The trial of a former police officer, charged in 2012 with complicity in the killing of teacher and journalist Julio Castro in 1977, continued at the end of the year.

Sexual and reproductive rights

Compulsory requirements established by the 2012 law decriminalizing abortion remained a concern as they were a potential obstacle to accessing legal abortion. The 2012 law established a mandatory five-day reflection period and a review of cases by a panel of experts when an abortion is requested. Where pregnancy is a result of a rape, the law required that a judicial complaint be filed for the woman to access an abortion.

In April, in Salto, capital of Salto department, doctors refused to provide an abortion to a disabled pregnant girl who was a rape survivor, on grounds of conscientious objection. The girl had to travel to the capital Montevideo for the procedure.

Prison conditions

In May, the UN Committee against Torture expressed concerns that two thirds of the prison population was awaiting trial, as well as concerns in relation to medical care, water supply, sanitation and ventilation in cells.

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

Investigations into the killings of five transsexual women between 2011 and 2012 showed little progress. In only one case, in the Department of Cerro Largo, three people were prosecuted.

1. Uruguay: Key human rights concerns – Amnesty International Submission to the UN Universal Periodic Review, January-February 2014 (AMR 52/001/2013) www.amnesty.org/en/library/info/AMR52/001/2013/en

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