Uruguay

Detains migrants or asylum seekers?

No

Has laws regulating migration-related detention?

No

Refugees

1,222

2023

Asylum Applications

21,151

2023

International Migrants

108,267

2020

Population

3,400,000

2023

Overview

Types of facilities used for migration-related detention
Administrative Ad Hoc Criminal Unknown

03 December 2020 – Uruguay

In March, Uruguay President Luis Lacalle Pou moved to impose a series of COVID-related restrictions, including closing non-essential shops and closing its border with Brazil. The moves–which notably did not include lock-down–came after the first COVID-19 case was confirmed in Montevideo on 13 March 2020. As of 30 November 2020, Uruguay had reported less than […]

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A Kit Used to Check for Antibodies in People with COVID-19, in Uruguay, 50,000 kits Were Developed, (Imago Images, Agencia EFE,
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DETENTION STATISTICS

Total Migration Detainees (Entries + Remaining from previous year)
Not Available
2019

DETAINEE DATA

Total Number of Children Placed in Immigration Detention (Year)
0
2017

DETENTION CAPACITY

ALTERNATIVES TO DETENTION

ADDITIONAL ENFORCEMENT DATA

PRISON DATA

Criminal Prison Population (Year)
10,228
2016
9,829
2013
8,700
2010
7,186
2007
6,888
2004
5,107
2001
3,927
1998
3,192
1995
3,157
1992
Percentage of Foreign Prisoners (Year)
2.8
2015
2.7
2006
Prison Population Rate (per 100,000 of National Population)
297
2016
289
2013
257
2010
215
2007
207
2004
154
2001
119
1998
99
1995
100
1992

POPULATION DATA

Population (Year)
3,400,000
2023
3,500,000
2020
3,432,000
2015
International Migrants (Year)
108,267
2020
81,482
2019
71,800
2015
International Migrants as Percentage of Population (Year)
3.12
2020
2.4
2019
2.1
2015
Refugees (Year)
1,222
2023
877
2021
664
2020
498
2019
391
2018
344
2017
274
2016
289
2015
272
2014
Ratio of Refugees Per 1000 Inhabitants (Year)
0.09
2016
0.08
2015
Asylum Applications (Year)
21,151
2023
12,222
2019
378
2016
42
2014
Refugee Recognition Rate (Year)
77.3
2014
Stateless Persons (Year)
5
2023
0
2016
0
2015

SOCIO-ECONOMIC DATA & POLLS

Gross Domestic Product per Capita (in USD)
16,806
2014
Remittances to the Country (in USD)
124
2014
Unemployment Rate
2014
Net Official Development Assistance (ODA) (in Millions USD)
88.7
2014
Human Development Index Ranking (UNDP)
52 (High)
2015

LEGAL & REGULATORY FRAMEWORK

Does the Country Detain People for Migration, Asylum, or Citizenship Reasons?
No
2023
No
2014
Does the Country Have Specific Laws that Provide for Migration-Related Detention?
No
2024
No
2014
Detention-Related Legislation
Ley de Migraciones, N°18250 de 2008 (Immigration Law N°18250 of 2008) (2008)
2008
Do Migration Detainees Have Constitutional Guarantees?
Yes (Articles 7, 12 & 15) 2004
2004
Regulations, Standards, Guidelines
Decreto N°394/009, Reglamentación de la Ley N°18.250, Ley de Migraciones (Decree N°394/009, Regulation of Law N°18.250, Immigration Law) (2009)
2009
Legal Tradition(s)
Civil law
2017

GROUNDS FOR DETENTION

Immigration-Status-Related Grounds
None
2014
Children & Other Vulnerable Groups
Unaccompanied minors No
2019

LENGTH OF DETENTION

DETENTION INSTITUTIONS

PROCEDURAL STANDARDS & SAFEGUARDS

Procedural Standards
Right to legal counsel (Yes)
2008
Information to detainees (Yes)
2008
Right to appeal the lawfulness of detention (Yes)
2004

COSTS & OUTSOURCING

COVID-19 DATA

TRANSPARENCY

MONITORING

NATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS MONITORING BODIES

NATIONAL PREVENTIVE MECHANISMS (OPTIONAL PROTOCOL TO UN CONVENTION AGAINST TORTURE)

NON-GOVERNMENTAL ORGANISATIONS (NGOs)

GOVERNMENTAL MONITORING BODIES

INTERNATIONAL DETENTION MONITORING

INTERNATIONAL TREATIES & TREATY BODIES

International Treaties Ratified
Ratification Year
Observation Date
OP ICESCR, Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights
2013
2018
OP CRC Communications Procedure
2015
2018
CRPD, Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
2009
2009
ICPED, International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance
2009
2009
OPCAT, Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment
2005
2005
CTOCSP, Protocol against the Smuggling of Migrants by Land, Sea and Air, supplementing the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime
2005
2005
CTOCTP, Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children
2005
2005
CRSSP, Convention Relating to the Status of Stateless Persons
2004
2004
ICRMW, International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families
2001
2001
CRC, Convention on the Rights of the Child
1990
1990
CAT, Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment
1986
1986
CEDAW, Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women
1981
1981
ICCPR, International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
1970
1970
ICESCR, International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights
1970
1970
CRSR, Geneva Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees
1970
1970
PCRSR, Protocol to the Geneva Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees
1970
1970
VCCR, Vienna Convention on Consular Relations
1970
1970
ICERD, International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination
1968
1968
Ratio of relevant international treaties ratified
Ratio: 18/19
Individual Complaints Procedures
Acceptance Year
ICESCR, Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, 2008 2013
2013
ICRMW, declaration under article 77 2012
2012
CRPD, Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities 2011
2011
ICPED, International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance, declaration under article 31 2009
2009
CEDAW, Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, 1999 2001
2001
CAT, declaration under article 22 of the Convention 1988
1988
ICERD, declaration under article 14 of the Convention 1972
1972
ICCPR, First Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, 1966 1970
1970
Ratio of Complaints Procedures Accepted
Observation Date
8/9
8/9
Relevant Recommendations or Observations Issued by Treaty Bodies
Recommendation Year
Observation Date
Committee on the Rights of the Child § 64. "In the light of its general comment No. 6 (2005) on treatment of unaccompanied and separated children outside their country of origin, 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. " 2015
2015
Committee on Migrant Workers §26 The Committee recommends that the State party continue its efforts to improve prison conditions, taking particular account of the situation of migrant workers, ensure that this group does not suffer overcrowding, and guarantee that migrant workers deprived of their liberty are informed of their rights to appropriate legal and consular assistance. 2014
2014

> UN Special Procedures

Visits by Special Procedures of the UN Human Rights Council
Year of Visit
Observation Date
Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment 2009
2009
2015
Special Rapporteur on trafficking in persons, especially in women and children 2010
2010
2015
Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment 2012
2012
2015

> UN Universal Periodic Review

Relevant Recommendations or Observations from the UN Universal Periodic Review
Observation Date
No 2009
2017
No 2014

> Global Compact for Migration (GCM)

> Global Compact on Refugees (GCR)

REGIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS MECHANISMS

Regional Legal Instruments
Year of Ratification (Treaty) / Transposed (Directive) / Adoption (Regulation)
Observation Date
ACHR, American Convention on Human Rights 1985
1985
IACPPT, Inter-American Convention to Prevent and Punish Torture 1992
1992
APACHR, Additional Protocol to the American Convention on Human Rights in the Area of Economic, Social and Cultural Rights 1995
1995
CBDP, Inter-American Convention on the Prevention, Punishment and Eradication of Violence against Women (Convention of Belem do Para) 1996
1996
IACFDP, Inter-American convention on Forced Disappearance of Persons 1996
1996

HEALTH CARE PROVISION

HEALTH IMPACTS

COVID-19

Country Updates
In March, Uruguay President Luis Lacalle Pou moved to impose a series of COVID-related restrictions, including closing non-essential shops and closing its border with Brazil. The moves--which notably did not include lock-down--came after the first COVID-19 case was confirmed in Montevideo on 13 March 2020. As of 30 November 2020, Uruguay had reported less than 6,000 COVID cases and 76 deaths related to the disease. Neighbouring Argentina also reacted swiftly but with stricter compulsory lockdown measures (see 3 April Argentina update on this platform); nevertheless, it has experienced dramatically more cases (approximately 1.4 million as of this writing). In June, Uruguayan authorities expressed concern over the arrival of a large number of Cubans, some of whom sought to enter the country as refugees. According to Diario de Cuba, the Cuban nationals arrived in Uruguay through the Rivera department on the border with Brazil, where they expressed their intention to apply for asylum. As of June 2020, Uruguay hosted 13,742 asylum seekers and 498 refugees under UNHCR’s mandate as well as 14,236 Venezuelans “displaced abroad.” According to the UNHCR, it employs the phrase Venezuelans “displaced abroad” to refer to people of Venezuelan origin who are likely to be in need of international protection under the criteria contained in the Cartagena Declaration, but who have not applied for asylum in the country in which they are present. As part of its COVID-19 response, UNHCR reports that it has provided humanitarian assistance to refugees and migrants suffering from the socioeconomic effects of the pandemic. UNHCR has provided accommodation, food, clothing, and cash assistance in major urban centres and border areas. Uruguayan legislation does not provide for the detention of people in an irregular migratory situation. Like Argentina’s immigration legislation, Article 1 of Uruguay’s Migration Act, No. 18250 (Ley de Migraciones, N°18250), along with its Regulatory Decree n°394/009 of 2009, recognise the inalienable right of migrants and their relatives to migrate irrespective of their migration status. Furthermore, Article 9 provides that an irregular immigration status does not preclude a person from having access to justice and health care and that authorities must provide information on regularisation avenues. The legislation (Article 51) also provides for expulsion proceedings in certain situations. As per Article 52, where a person has entered irregularly or stayed in the country following the expiration of their permit, the Uruguayan immigration authority (Dirección Nacional de Migración), taking into account the specific circumstances of the case, is to advise the person that they must regularise their immigration status within a certain period of time in order to avoid expulsion. In its concluding observations in 2014, the Committee on Migrant Workers noted “with particular interest that the Act recognises: … (c) That no case involving a migrant in an irregular situation for administrative reasons warrants detention.” In the country’s prisons, a sanitary protocol was put in place on 16 March whereby detainees presenting any symptoms are placed in quarantine. Hygienic products and sodium hypochlorite were distributed to the prisoners and the protocol envisages the fumigation of communal spaces and vehicles used for the transfer of detainees. On 13 April, 13 prisoners suffering from COVID-19 symptoms were tested. 8 tested negative and the rest were placed in isolation awaiting results.
Did the country release immigration detainees as a result of the pandemic?
Not Applicable
2022
Did the country Temporarily Cease or Restrict Issuing Detention Orders?
Not Applicable
2022
Did the Country Adopt These Pandemic-Related Measures for People in Immigration Detention?
Not Applicable (Not Applicable) Not Applicable Not Applicable Not Applicable
2022
Did the Country Lock-Down Previously "Open" Reception Facilities, Shelters, Refugee Camps, or Other Forms of Accommodation for Migrant Workers or Other Non-Citizens?
Unknown
2022
Were cases of COVID-19 reported in immigration detention facilities or any other places used for immigration detention purposes?
Unknown
2022
Did the Country Cease or Restrict Deportations/Removals During any Period After the Onset of the Pandemic?
Unknown
2022
Did the Country Release People from Criminal Prisons During the Pandemic?
Yes
2020
Did Officials Blame Migrants, Asylum Seekers, or Refugees for the Spread of COVID-19?
Unknown
2022
Did the Country Restrict Access to Asylum Procedures?
Yes
2022
Did the Country Commence a National Vaccination Campaign?
Yes
2021
Were Populations of Concern Included/Excluded From the National Vaccination Campaign?
Not Applicable (Included) Included Included Unknown
2021