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Uruguay: National Institution of Human Rights

(Apr. 2, 2009) Uruguay's President Tabaré Vazquez signed a law on December 24, 2008, that creates the Institución Nacional de Derechos Humanos (National Institution of Human Rights); it is designed to defend, promote, and protect the human rights recognized by the Constitution and international law (Law No. 18446). The Institution will be autonomous and will not receive instructions or orders from any authority, according to the new law.

Some of the new agency's functions are:

  • to propose the signing, approval, ratification, adherence to, and implementation of international treaties related to human rights;
  • to propose the termination of international treaties that, in its view, violate human rights;
  • to recommend and propose the adoption, elimination, or amendment of institutional practices, administrative practices, or measures and criteria used for the approval of administrative acts or resolutions to better protect human rights;
  • to acknowledge and investigate alleged violations of human rights, at the request of a party or “ex officio”; and
  • to cooperate with the competent authorities in education about human rights at all levels.

Chapter III of the law details the procedure to be observed in cases of accusations of alleged violations of human rights. Chapter IV deals with the authority of the Executive Council of the Institution in the exercise of its functions. Chapter V defines the organizational structure of the Institution. Chapter VI specifies the operation of the Executive Council. Other chapters deal with budgetary matters and include transitory and special provisions. (Ley No. 18446, DIARIO OFICIAL [Official Gazette], No. 27661, Jan. 27, 2009, available at