Amnesty International Report 2016/17 - The State of the World's Human Rights - Uruguay

Despite efforts by the Working Group for Truth and Justice, little progress was made in the few criminal prosecutions of crimes under international law and human rights violations committed during the period of civil-military government (1973-1985). Discrimination against people with disabilities persisted and lack of gender equality remained a concern. Uruguay hosted the Global LGBTI Human Rights Conference. The exercise of conscientious objection among medical practitioners continued to pose significant barriers to women’s access to safe and legal abortion.


The Action Plan 2016-2019 “for a life free of gender violence”, drafted by the National Advisory Council against Domestic Violence, came into effect.

In July, the UN CEDAW Committee urged Uruguay to increase action to reduce discrimination against Afro-descendant women and to improve their access to education, employment and health. The Committee also expressed concern about the lack of a specific mechanism to ensure reparations for women who had suffered sexual violence under the civil-military government, among other issues.

In August, the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities called for the creation of consultation mechanisms for people with disabilities to enable them to participate in the adoption of public and legislative policies and to ensure accessible methods for reporting discrimination on grounds of disability.

Prison conditions

In June, the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Penitentiary System, with the support of other national institutions and the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, facilitated workshops on human rights education for prison directors. These workshops aimed to improve public servants’ understanding of human rights-based approaches in order to avoid internal conflicts and the excessive use of force.


The Truth and Justice Working Group, established in May 2015 to investigate crimes against humanity committed between 1968 and 1985, continued to collect testimonies, conduct exhumations, and locate the remains of missing persons. It also gained access to important documentation, including archives at the headquarters of Naval Fusiliers and was due to make its findings public in 2017.

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

In July, Uruguay hosted the Global LGBTI Human Rights Conference. Uruguay chaired the thematic group discussion calling for LGBTI people to be included in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

For the first time Uruguay carried out a census of transgender people to better understand their situation. The multiple discrimination suffered by transgender people remained a problem, despite efforts and policies to improve the situation.

Homophobia-free health centres were successfully developed; however, the lack of comprehensive health care for LGBTI people remained a challenge.

Sexual and reproductive rights

The UN CEDAW Committee commended Uruguay for a drastic reduction in maternal mortality and the expansion of women’s access to sexual and reproductive health services. However, it expressed concern that such access remained limited in rural areas. The Committee expressed further concern at the widespread use of conscientious objection among medical practitioners, which limited women’s access to safe and legal abortion services. The Committee called on the government to assess the nationwide availability of sexual and reproductive health services in order to identify underserved areas and ensure appropriate funding; to take measures to ensure that women have access to legal abortion and post-abortion services; and to introduce more rigorous requirements to prevent blanket use of conscientious objection in cases of abortion.

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