The Committee considered the second periodic report of Uruguay
(E/1990/6/Add.10) at its 42nd to 44th meetings, held on 27 and
28 November 1997, and adopted at its 54th meeting, held on 5
December 1997 the following observations:
The Committee welcomes the second periodic report submitted
by Uruguay and the written replies to the Committee's list of
issues (E/C.12/Q/URU/1), as well as the constructive dialogue
conducted between its members and the expert and high-level
delegation from the capital. The Committee notes with appreciation
that the report was prepared in accordance with the guidelines
regarding the form and content of reports submitted by States
B. Positive aspects
The Committee notes with satisfaction that the State party has
ratified the Protocol of San Salvador additional to the American
Convention on Human Rights.
The Committee welcomes the progress made by the State party
in attaining a high rate of literacy, in ensuring free primary
education for all and in making secondary and higher education
free of charge. It also regards positively the establishment
of programmes for less favoured children such as the school
meals programme (bandejas escolares).
The Committee notes that some of the rights enshrined in the
Covenant can be directly invoked before the courts. It appreciates
the list of relevant jurisprudence that was provided with the
The Committee appreciates the steps taken by the State party
to adopt employment policies for the young and for rural workers,
as well as the measures taken to provide further training for
C. Factors and difficulties impeding the implementation
of the Covenant
The Committee notes the economic difficulties encountered by
the State party, in particular the high rate of unemployment.
D. Principal subjects of concern
The Committee is concerned that despite the efforts and progress
made by the State party to raise the standard of living, a high
proportion of the population continues to live below the poverty
line, in particular the black minority. Furthermore the Committee
is concerned about the surveys conducted among the population
of the State party itself which tend to show that prejudice
against the black minority continues to exist in the country.
The Committee notes with concern that there has been a substantial
decrease in the number of persons affiliated with trade unions
and that the minimum wage is established unilaterally only for
the agricultural sector. It is particularly concerned about
the fact that the minimum wage is totally insufficient to live
on and is only used as an indicator, despite the recommendations
made by the International Labour Organization Committee of Experts
in 1993 in respect of the Minimum Wage-Fixing Convention, 1970
(No. 131) and by the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural
Rights in 1994.
The Committee considers that the governmental resources devoted
to public health and education are inadequate. In particular,
it is alarmed by the fact that the very low wages paid to nurses
has led to a low ratio of nurses to doctors (lower than 1:5)
in Uruguay, which tends to diminish the quality and accessibility
of medical care available to the community. A similar problem
exists in the education sector, as manifested especially by
the continued deterioration of teachers' salaries in terms of
The Committee is concerned about the increase in labour related
accidents due to non-compliance with security measures, particularly
in the construction sector, as expressed by the ILO Committee
of Experts in 1995, in relation to Convention No. 62.
The Committee is deeply concerned about the situation of children
in Uruguay. Child labour continues to be a serious problem,
as attested to by the concluding observations of the Committee
on the Rights of the Child, and that the minimum working age
as provided for in ILO Convention No. 138, is not fully respected
in the State party. It is also concerned at the health situation
of young minors in view of the high incidence of obesity and
The Committee notes with concern that the Civil Code retains
a distinction between legitimate children and children born
out of wedlock.
The Committee is also concerned about the continued existence
in practice of discrimination between men and women in terms
of salaries received for equal work. It also regrets the insufficiency
of the information provided regarding the situation of women
in general, and domestic violence in particular.
The Committee is concerned about the large number of persons
with disabilities in the population (7 per cent), of whom 70
per cent are reported to be mentally disturbed, and about the
problem of alcoholism, which leads to high rates of traffic
accidents and fatalities.
The Committee continues to be concerned by the shortage of housing,
the high levels of rent, and the conditions under which forced
evictions may be carried out, particularly for the most vulnerable
E. Suggestions and recommendations
The Committee would welcome additional information on the steps
taken by the State party to ensure enjoyment to economic, social
and cultural rights by the black minority, in particular their
right to protection against discrimination.
The Committee calls upon the State party to comply with its
obligations under article 7 of the Covenant and, in particular,
to take steps towards fixing a national minimum wage indexed
to the cost of living in consultation with employers' and workers'
representatives. The Committee urges the State party to ensure
that its existing legislation in respect of the occupational
health and safety of workers is fully implemented and that the
labour inspection system is strengthened.
The Committee recommends that the necessary legislative and
economic measures be adopted to protect the rights of persons
with disabilities and of street children. Particular importance
should be given to information programmes in respect of health
care, both physical and mental. Furthermore, all discriminatory
provisions in the Civil Code or family law in respect of children
born out of wedlock should be repealed.
The Committee recommends that the State party take measures
to increase the real salaries of teachers and nurses.
The Committee urges the State party to take steps to improve
health care for people living in rural areas.
The Committee considers that the efforts made by the State party
to implement an adequate housing policy remain insufficient
and urges it to increase its efforts in this respect. It also
wishes to receive more detailed information on the number of
forced evictions and the manner in which these are carried out.
The Committee urges that greater attention be given to the problem
of de facto discrimination against women and that programmes
be implemented for the eradication of inequalities between men
and women, in both the public and private sectors. It recommends
that appropriate legal measures be undertaken in relation to
crimes of violence against women within or outside the family.
Finally, the Committee recommends that the concerns expressed
in the present concluding observations, as well as the issues
raised during the discussion of the second periodic report which
remained unanswered, be addressed in the State party's third
periodic report, and it urges the State party to disseminate
widely the present concluding observations adopted by the Committee
following its consideration of the State party's second periodic