Torture in  [Uruguay]  [other countries]
Human Trafficking in  [Uruguay]  [other countries]
Street Children in  [Uruguay]  [other countries]
Child Prostitution in  [Uruguay]  [other countries]

Torture by Police, Forced Disappearance

& Other Ill Treatment

In the early years of the 21st Century                                                                

Oriental Republic of Uruguay

Uruguay's economy is characterized by an export-oriented agricultural sector, a well-educated work force, and high levels of social spending. After averaging growth of 5% annually during 1996-98, in 1999-2002 the economy suffered a major downturn, stemming largely from the spillover effects of the economic problems of its large neighbors, Argentina and Brazil.

Real GDP fell in four years by nearly 20%, with 2002 the worst year. The unemployment rate rose, inflation surged, and the burden of external debt doubled. Financial assistance from the IMF helped stem the damage. Uruguay restructured its external debt in 2003 without asking creditors to accept a reduction on the principal. Economic growth for Uruguay resumed, and averaged 8% annually during the period 2004-08.  [The World Factbook, U.S.C.I.A. 2009]

Description: Description: Uruguay

CAUTION:  The following links have been culled from the web to illuminate the situation in Uruguay.  Some of these links may lead to websites that present allegations that are unsubstantiated or even false.  No attempt has been made to validate their authenticity or to verify their content.

*** ARCHIVES ***

Uruguay: Law protecting police and military torture suspects must be annulled

Amnesty International AI, Press Releases, 19 October 2009

[accessed 13 Feb 2014]

[accessed 31 August 2016]

A law in Uruguay that has allowed the police and military to get away with torture and murder should be annulled, Amnesty International said today, as the country prepares to vote in a referendum on the future of the law.

The law -- Ley de Caducidad de la Pretencion Punitiva del Estado, or Expiry Law – prevents the prosecution of police and military officials for crimes committed until 1985, covering the eleven-year period of military and civilian rule when thousands of cases of torture and many disappearances were documented.

Ninety-nine percent of political prisoners interviewed at the time by local human rights groups claimed they had been tortured. At its peak, the number of political prisoners held during the period reached 7000, according to estimates.

"This law was designed as a get-out-of-jail-free card for those who tortured, killed and disappeared people in Uruguay," said Guadalupe Marengo, Americas Deputy Director at Amnesty International.

Human Rights Reports » 2005 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices

U.S. Dept of State Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, March 8, 2006

[accessed 15 February 2013]

TORTURE AND OTHER CRUEL, INHUMAN, OR DEGRADING TREATMENT OR PUNISHMENT – The law prohibits such practices, and unlike last year, there were no reports that government officials employed them. The judicial and parliamentary branches of government are responsible for investigating specific allegations of abuse. Human rights groups reported that police sometimes mistreated detainees. Detainees rarely filed complaints, but the government investigated those complaints that were filed.

Freedom House Country Report - Political Rights: 1   Civil Liberties: 1   Status: Free

2009 Edition

[accessed 15 February 2013]

The judiciary is relatively independent but has become increasingly inefficient in the face of escalating crime, particularly street violence and organized crime. The court system is severely backlogged, and pretrial detainees often spend more time in jail than they would if convicted of the offense in question and sentenced to the maximum prison term. Allegations of police mistreatment, particularly of youthful offenders, have increased. However, prosecutions of such acts are also occurring more frequently. Prisons, which are overcrowded, were at 128 percent capacity in 2008. Many prisoners rely on visitors for food, and medical care is substandard. According to a 2008 Honorary Anti-Tuberculosis Commission report, 35 percent of Uruguay’s prison population has tuberculosis.

Conclusions and recommendations of the Committee against Torture

U.N. Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment  -- Doc. A/52/44, paras. 81-94 (1996)

[accessed 12 March 2013]

91. The Committee regrets the State party's delay in giving effect to the recommendations made during the consideration of Uruguay's initial report. The Committee is particularly concerned at the following:

(a) The continuing gaps in Uruguayan legislation which are impeding full implementation of the provisions of the Convention;

(b) The lack of a provision introducing a definition of the crime of torture into domestic law in terms compatible with article 1, paragraph 1, of the Convention;

(c) The persistence in Uruguayan law of provisions concerning obedience to a superior, which are incompatible with article 2, paragraph 3, of the Convention.

All material used herein reproduced under the fair use exception of 17 USC § 107 for noncommercial, nonprofit, and educational use.  PLEASE RESPECT COPYRIGHTS OF COMPONENT ARTICLES. 

Cite this webpage as: Patt, Prof. Martin, "Torture by Police, Forced Disappearance & Other Ill Treatment in the early years of the 21st Century- Uruguay",, [accessed <date>]



Torture in  [Uruguay]  [other countries]
Human Trafficking in  [Uruguay]  [other countries]
Street Children in  [Uruguay]  [other countries]
Child Prostitution in  [Uruguay]  [other countries]