Press Release

IACHR Publishes Report No. 103/19 on Petition 1224–07 (David Rabinovich—Uruguay) and Congratulates the State for its Full Compliance with this Friendly Settlement Agreement 

July 24, 2019

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Washington, D.C. - The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) has decided to approve the friendly settlement agreement signed on October 25, 2017 concerning Petition 1224–07 (David Rabinovich). The agreement was signed by the Uruguayan State with journalist David Rabinovich, the Uruguayan Press Association (APU, by its Spanish acronym) and the Uruguayan Institute of Legal Studies (ILESUR, by its Spanish acronym), at a meeting that was facilitated by Commissioner Francisco Eguiguren Praeli, IACHR Rapporteur for Uruguay, during the Commission’s 165th Period of Sessions.

On October 25, 2007, the IACHR received a petition—filed by David Rabinovich, with the APU and the ILESUR as his representatives—that alleged that the journalist’s right to freedom of expression and access to information had been violated when he was denied access to information of public interest based on a law that was incompatible with international standards.

On October 1, 2015, the parties formally launched negotiations toward a friendly settlement. These negotiations led to the signing of a friendly settlement agreement in which the Uruguayan State committed to facilitating public dissemination of the agreement, particularly by publicizing the legislation in place concerning public information. The State further acknowledged that the refusal to grant access to the public information requested by Mr. Rabinovich entailed a restriction in the exercise of his right to seek, receive and disseminate information and ideas of all kinds, in the context marked by a lack of clear protocols for access to public information that was evident when these events took place.

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.

The agreement is a response to the petitioning party’s main demands, concerning comprehensive reparation for the victim. In particular, it provides for public recognition of the State’s responsibility for these events and the adoption of significant legislative reform. This reform has strengthened the legal framework to protect and enforce the right of all persons to seek, receive and disseminate public information in keeping with the standards that are spelled out by the Inter-American Human Rights System.

In compliance with the provisos in this agreement, 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. Later, the parties worked together to disseminate a recording of the event among associations of journalists and other relevant actors, to ensure full compliance with this friendly settlement agreement.

The Commission commends the parties for making the most of IACHR facilitation to finetune the provisos and content of their agreement, and the specific actions required for full compliance with it. The IACHR further congratulates the Uruguayan State for complying with all the commitments it made in this friendly settlement agreement and in the road map that was agreed on May 3, 2019.

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. 182/19