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Optional protocolon the involvement of children in armed conflict, on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography, on a Communication Procedure
Corporal punishmentCorporal Punishment is prohibited.
Overview of the child rights situation

Although corporal punishment is prohibited, violence against children remains a serious problem in Uruguay. Furthermore, the Committee notes with concern the information on the lack or poor condition of playgrounds, parks and other public spaces available for recreational, cultural and sports activities for children. It is of further concern that 20 % of children continue to live in poverty, despite the fact that Uruguay has invested many resources to improve the situation of children.

Female genital mutilation and reproductive rights

While welcoming the measures adopted to address the high rates of teenage pregnancy and to provide support to teenage mothers, the Committee remains concerned about the insufficient accessibility of sexual and reproductive health services and education. The Committee is also concerned about information that pregnant teenagers who have decided to terminate their pregnancies do not receive adequate support and counselling.

Racism, children belonging to a minority and indigenous childrenThe State party has a national plan against racism and discrimination.
Situation of children with disabilities

The Committee is concerned that the State party has not adopted a comprehensive policy on the inclusive education and participation in society of children with disabilities. The Committee regrets that discrimination against children with disabilities remains widespread in the State party. To improve the situation, the Committee specifically recommends to set up comprehensive measures to develop inclusive education, and ensure that inclusive education is given priority over the placement of children in specialized institutions and classes. Also, Uruguay should adopt a human rights-based policy that addresses the barriers that hinder the full and effective participation in society of children with disabilities on an equal basis with other children.

Situation of asylum-seeking, refugee and migrant childrenDespite the information provided by the State party, the Committee is concerned about the lack of a special procedure for the protection of unaccompanied migrant children. The Committee is also concerned about information on the absence of a procedure for the appointment of a guardian and a legal representative for unaccompanied children. The Committee recommends that the State party introduce comprehensive legislation ensuring assistance to and the protection of unaccompanied migrant children. In particular, the Committee recommends that the State party establish a specific and permanent national authority to oversee the conditions of unaccompanied migrant children, identify their needs and address problems of the current system, and to develop operational guidelines on unaccompanied migrant children, including guidelines on their reception and identification, on needs assessment and on a protection strategy.
Free kindergartenYes
Free primary and secondary schoolYes
physical health

The Committee is concerned about the large number of children suffering from nutritional disorders, such as chronic malnutrition, anaemia and obesity. Therefore, the Committee recommends that the State party strengthen its efforts to ensure access to high-quality health services by all children, particularly children living in the most disadvantaged and remote areas of the country, and encourages the State party to develop policies and programmes to address chronic malnutrition and anaemia.

Concerning adolescent health, the Committee is concerned that, while tobacco, alcohol and drug consumption are widespread among adolescents, programmes and services for those affected by substance abuse remain limited. The Committee recommends that the State party address the prevalence of substance abuse, including tobacco and alcohol abuse, provide children and adolescents with objective information in this respect, and develop accessible and youth-friendly drug dependence treatment and harm reduction services.

The State party has improved access to antiretroviral treatment and has adopted a national strategy for the prevention of HIV/AIDS vertical transmission. The committee is concerned, however, about the lack of a comprehensive HIV/AIDS prevention strategy addressed towards children and adolescents.

Relation to other countries
mental health

The Committee notes the lack of information on the current situation with regard to the use of methylphenidate for children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or attention deficit disorder (ADD). Therefore, the Committee recommends that the State party undertake a study to evaluate the situation of children diagnosed with ADHD or ADD, and the prescription of psychostimulants, such as methylphenidate.

Business sector

The Committee is concerned about children being economically exploited, particularly in street vending, garbage collection and recycling, the construction sector, domestic work, and in the agriculture and forestry sectors. The Committee is also concerned at the large number of children involved in hazardous work in agriculture and fishing, using dangerous tools, carrying heavy loads, applying harmful pesticides, herding livestock and working long hours. To end exploitative and hazardous forms of child labour, Uruguay should strengthen its efforts to provide reliable information on the number of children who carry out economic activities and take measures to prevent children under the minimum age from working in all sectors.

Situation of juvenile justice

The Committee is seriously concerned about allegations of ill-treatment and torture in police stations of adolescents suspected of having committed crimes and of children in street situations as well as reports of excessive use of force and collective punishments in detention facilities, children and adolescents being locked up in their cells for up to 22 hours per day and about the administration of anti-anxiety medication to juvenile detainees as a means of restraint. In addition to that, there is information about overcrowding and extremely poor conditions in detention centres for children and adolescents. To improve the situation, the Committee urges Uruguay to establish an independent complaints mechanism accessible to all children deprived of their liberty and ensure that conditions of detention in penitentiaries comply with the minimum international sanitary and hygienic standards.

Specific observations

The Committee notes with concern the lack of systematic training on the Convention among all professional groups working with and for children. In particular, the Committee is deeply concerned about the lack of training on the content of the Convention among judges, which on several occasions has led to interpretations of the State party’s legislation that are in contradiction with the Convention and its Optional Protocols.
The Committee is also concerned about the inadequacy of prison facilities for children living in prisons with their mothers and about the non-application of article 8 of Act 17.897 on probation, which allows for women who would otherwise be in detention to be placed under house arrest during the last trimester of pregnancy and the first three months of breastfeeding.

Additional background

Concluding observations on the third to fifth periodic reports released on 5 March 2015. More information about education in Uruguay: https://www.oecd-ilibrary.org/

Last Updated (date)22nd of February, 2022