IACHR

Press Release

IACHR Welcomes Progress Made by Uruguay to Comply with Friendly Settlement Concerning Petition 1227-07, David Rabinovich

June 12, 2019

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María Isabel Rivero
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Washington, D.C. – The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) welcomes compliance by the State of Uruguay with non-repetition measures included in the friendly settlement on the Rabinovich Case. Uruguayan authorities held an academic event on standards concerning freedom of expression and access to information and on the impact of this case in the domestic legal framework.

On October 25, 2007, the IACHR received a petition that alleged that a law that was incompatible with international standards had violated David Rabinovich’s right to freedom of expression and access to information. The petitioner argued that Article 11 Municipal Organic Law 9,515 of 1935 enabled any issues addressed during a session to be declared secret if an absolute majority of participants agreed. The petitioner further alleged that the Uruguayan State had failed to comply with the standards demanding maximum dissemination, publicity and transparency that stemmed from Article 13 of the American Convention on Human Rights.

On October 1, 2015, the parties started negotiating a friendly settlement that was eventually signed on October 25, 2017, during the IACHR’s 165th Period of Sessions. In that friendly settlement, the Uruguayan State committed to facilitating public dissemination of that agreement, particularly by publicizing the legislation in place concerning public information.

Later, on May 3, 2019, the parties signed a memorandum of understanding to establish a road map for future work and specify the content of State obligations derived from the agreement, and to move toward full compliance with that agreement. Among the commitments it had made to ensure compliance with that settlement, the State had to host an academic event that was open to the public on the petition filed by David Rabinovich and on the enactment of a law on access to public information.

In compliance with the provisos held in that friendly settlement agreement and that memorandum of understanding, the State held on May 27, 2019, in Montevideo, a Seminar on the Impact of the IACHR’s Friendly Settlement Procedure on Uruguay’s National Legal Development. Seminar participants included Felipe Michelini, coordinator of the UNESCO Chair at the Universidad de la República de Uruguay; Commissioner Esmeralda Arosemena de Troitiño, President of the IACHR; and Commissioner Antonia Urrejola, IACHR Rapporteur for Uruguay; petitioners David Rabinovich and Martin Prats; Juan Faroppa, representative of Uruguay’s National Institution for Human Rights and Public Advocacy; and Daniela Pi, Director of Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. (See photos of the seminar)

At the seminar, Commissioner Arosemena de Troitiño stressed the importance of the friendly settlement mechanism for the Individual Petition and Case System. She highlighted the mechanism’s main features, along with its basic procedural aspects. She also noted the significance of the friendly settlement mechanism in connection with the provisos of the IACHR’s Strategic Plan 2017-2021. Commissioner Urrejola highlighted the importance of setting goals for satisfaction and for memory, truth and justice, as well as the significance of non-repetition measures held in friendly settlements, particularly in this petition. She stressed relevant aspects of the case, as well as a comparative analysis with other friendly settlements linked to freedom of expression and inter-American standards on access to information. (See seminar agenda (in Spanish) and webcast)

The Commission commends the Uruguayan State for its efforts and cooperation. In particular, the IACHR appreciates the work done by the Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law Department at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to organize and host this seminar and other activities to implement the friendly settlement concerning this petition. Finally, the Commission urges the Uruguayan State to complete its execution of the road map agreed for full compliance with this friendly settlement.

A principal, autonomous body of the Organization of American States (OAS), the IACHR derives its mandate from the OAS Charter and the American Convention on Human Rights. The Inter-American Commission has a mandate to promote respect for and to defend human rights in the region and acts as a consultative body to the OAS in this area. The Commission is composed of seven independent members who are elected in an individual capacity by the OAS General Assembly and who do not represent their countries of origin or residence.

A principal, autonomous body of the Organization of American States (OAS), the IACHR derives its mandate from the OAS Charter and the American Convention on Human Rights. The Inter-American Commission has a mandate to promote respect for and to defend human rights in the region and acts as a consultative body to the OAS in this area. The Commission is composed of seven independent members who are elected in an individual capacity by the OAS General Assembly and who do not represent their countries of origin or residence.

No. 148/19