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Uruguay

Capital

Montevideo

Territory

175,020km²

Population (2020)

3,473,727

GDP Total (2020)

53.63B USD

GDP Per Capita (2020)

15,438 USD

Icome Group

High income

Convention Implementation

66.0
In progress

Western Hemisphere Ranking

60.7

14th of 31 countries

South America Ranking

63.2

6th of 12 countries

Corruption Resilience

77.6
Resilient

Western Hemisphere Ranking

54.4

1st of 31 countries

South America Ranking

53.9

1st of 12 countries

Convention Implementation

Score by thematic sections and measures

Prevention

In progress
52.8

Western Hemisphere 46.3

South America 47.3

Standards of Conduct

In progress
59.3

Western Hemisphere 42.8

South America 48.0

Enforcement of Standards of Conduct

Implemented
71.8

Western Hemisphere 50.6

South America 58.7

Training of Public Officials

In progress
62.5

Western Hemisphere 36.8

South America 44.5

Asset and Conflicts of Interests Declarations

In progress
62.5

Western Hemisphere 42.3

South America 45.8

Transparency in Government Contracting

Core-deficient
35.9

Western Hemisphere 33.1

South America 40.3

Elimination of Favorable Tax Treatment

In progress
50.7

Western Hemisphere 47.1

South America 49.2

Oversight Bodies

In progress
43.7

Western Hemisphere 36.0

South America 37.6

Measures to Deter Domestic and Foreign Bribery

In progress
50.7

Western Hemisphere 36.7

South America 40.6

Encouraging Participation by Civil Society

In progress
50.7

Western Hemisphere 43.0

South America 52.8

Study of Other Prevention Measures

Core-deficient
40.6

Western Hemisphere 44.9

South America 48.1

Criminalization and law enforcement

In progress
65.9

Western Hemisphere 61.1

South America 64.1

Protection of Those who Report Acts of Corruption

Core-deficient
28.9

Western Hemisphere 30.7

South America 34.8

Scope

Implemented
100

Western Hemisphere 67.7

South America 75

Jurisdiction: Offense-in-Territory

In progress
68.7

Western Hemisphere 74.6

South America 77.8

Jurisdiction: Offense-by-National

Implemented
100

Western Hemisphere 51.9

South America 62.6

Jurisdiction: Offender-in-Territory

Implemented
100

Western Hemisphere 58.8

South America 79.1

Passive Public Bribery

In progress
62.5

Western Hemisphere 55.8

South America 55.3

Active Public Bribery

In progress
62.5

Western Hemisphere 56.4

South America 55.3

Abuse of Functions

Core-deficient
35.9

Western Hemisphere 47.0

South America 48.4

Money Laundering

In progress
59.3

Western Hemisphere 55.8

South America 54.3

Participation and Attempt

In progress
59.3

Western Hemisphere 58.4

South America 56.4

Active Foreign Bribery

In progress
53.1

Western Hemisphere 39.0

South America 34.4

Illicit Enrichment

Not Implemented
0

Western Hemisphere 54.7

South America 59.2

Use of State Property

Implemented
85.9

Western Hemisphere 79.5

South America 85.5

Illicit Acquisition of a Benefit

Implemented
85.9

Western Hemisphere 52.1

South America 59.5

Public Embezzlement

Implemented
85.9

Western Hemisphere 77.6

South America 83.2

Passive Foreign Bribery

Not Implemented
0

Western Hemisphere 25.6

South America 22.0

Private Bribery

Not Implemented
0

Western Hemisphere 22.7

South America 26.4

Private Embezzlement

In progress
50

Western Hemisphere 64.7

South America 70.4

Obstruction of Justice

Implemented
100

Western Hemisphere 71.4

South America 79.1

Liability of Legal Persons

In progress
68.7

Western Hemisphere 61.3

South America 60.6

Statute of Limitations

Implemented
100

Western Hemisphere 79.6

South America 84.3

Prosecution, Adjudication and Sanctions

Implemented
85.9

Western Hemisphere 69.5

South America 71.2

Consequences and Compensation

Implemented
100

Western Hemisphere 70.3

South America 77.4

Cooperation With Law Enforcement

In progress
68.7

Western Hemisphere 72.2

South America 72.9

Asset Recovery

Implemented
85.9

Western Hemisphere 66.4

South America 68.4

International cooperation

Implemented
75.1

Western Hemisphere 68.9

South America 72.5

Assistance Without Criminalization

Implemented
100

Western Hemisphere 79.8

South America 82.8

Inclusion in Extradition Treaties

In progress
62.5

Western Hemisphere 55.1

South America 55.3

Convention as Legal Basis for Extradition

In progress
57.8

Western Hemisphere 47.5

South America 55.2

Automatic Application Without Treaty

In progress
59.3

Western Hemisphere 52.7

South America 54.9

Prosecution Without Extradition

In progress
57.8

Western Hemisphere 57.2

South America 58.7

Custody

In progress
57.8

Western Hemisphere 73.4

South America 70.1

Assistance

In progress
50

Western Hemisphere 58.0

South America 64.6

Impossibility of Claiming Bank Secrecy

In progress
50

Western Hemisphere 84.0

South America 86.3

Limited Use of Information

Implemented
100

Western Hemisphere 82.6

South America 89.5

Nature of Act

Implemented
100

Western Hemisphere 84.3

South America 83.3

Designate Central Authorities

Implemented
100

Western Hemisphere 75.9

South America 86.5

Responsibilities of Central Authorities

Implemented
74.2

Western Hemisphere 71.5

South America 74.9

Communication Between Central Authorities

Implemented
85.9

Western Hemisphere 67.3

South America 78.3

Special Investigative Techniques

Implemented
85.9

Western Hemisphere 56.9

South America 52.0

Technical Cooperation

Implemented
85.9

Western Hemisphere 62.8

South America 78.3

Anti-corruption conventions timeline

1996199719981999200020012002200320042005200620072008200920102011201220132014201520162017

Conventions

  • IACAC - Inter-American Convention Against Corruption
  • UNCAC - United Nations Convention against Corruption
  • OECD Anti-Bribery Convention

Key events

  • Signed
  • Ratifed / acceded
  • Review rounds

Convention Implementation Analysis

Uruguay signed the Inter-American Convention Against Corruption (IACAC) on March 29, 1996, and ratified it on October 28, 1998. It is a State Party to the Follow-Up Mechanism for the Implementation of the Inter-American Convention against Corruption (MESICIC) since June 4, 2001. The country also signed the United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC) on December 9, 2003, and subsequently ratified it on January 10, 2007. Accordingly, Uruguay has undergone five rounds of review under MESICIC, and one round of review under the UNCAC review mechanism (of which, for comparability purposes, only the first one was considered here).

Uruguay’s record in implementing its commitments to IACAC and UNCAC exhibits a number of successes and a few failures. With an overall score of 66.1, the measures adopted place the country squarely at the middle point of compliance with international norms, surrounded by Jamaica (65.1), Ecuador (65.1), Honduras (66.6), and The Bahamas (67.1). Despite achieving higher success in regard to criminalization and international cooperation (as is the case throughout the region) the majority of preventive measures are found to be in progress or implemented while most failures pertain to criminalization and law enforcement. Consequently, a degree of progress is found in all three sections—albeit with an emphasis on international cooperation.

The prevention of corruption is undergoing, classified as “in progress” by its average score and with all but three measures receiving a score of 50 or above. Measures found to be in progress include the adoption of standards of conduct (59.4) and their implementation (71.9), the training of public officials (62.5), and the systems for registering asset and conflict of interests' declarations (62.5), among others. Three measures receive a failing score: transparency in government contracting (35.9), the study of preventive measures related to equitable compensation (40.6), and the state of oversight bodies (43.8). Among other issues affecting government contracting, the report of the fifth round of MESICIC (adopted in 2016) states that “it is unclear the extent to which there are legal provisions in place that allow for the National Civil Service Office to take corrective measure against an irregular selection process or declare invalid an irregular appointment, other than those hired into the public service on a probationary basis”. Furthermore, the report points out the lack of knowledge about “similar authorities having been established, or assigned for other important areas of government that carry out their own hiring outside of the scope of the National Civil Service Office.”

In terms of criminalization and law enforcement, Uruguay shows better results than those regarding prevention, with over one third of all measures within this section found to be successfully implemented. These include the criminalization of embezzlement in the public sector, the illicit acquisition of a benefit (i.e., influence trading), and obstruction of justice; as well as actions to pursue asset recovery, providing a long statute of limitations, and broader consequences—such as the rescinding of contracts and obtaining compensation—for the commitment of corrupt offenses (as required by UNCAC). On the other hand, Uruguay has not taken any actions conducive to the criminalization of illicit enrichment, the passive bribery of foreign officials, or bribery in the private sector. Moreover, two important measures are also found deficient—the protection of those who report acts of corruption (28.9) and the criminalization of abuse of functions (35.9). Other measures remain in progress, including those pertaining to embezzlement in the private sector (50.0), the active bribery of foreign officials (53.1), and money laundering (59.4).

Finally, Uruguay’s mild implementation of its commitments regarding international cooperation is reflected in half of all measures within this section receiving an “implemented” score and no measures found deficient at core or unimplemented.

Corruption Resilience

Score by indicator

Social Context

Resilient
89.9

Western Hemisphere 64.8

South America 64.2

Quality of Government

Resilient
76.3

Western Hemisphere 50.6

South America 52.4

Rule of Law

Resilient
77.8

Western Hemisphere 51.1

South America 50.7

Business Stability

Moderately Resilient
64.3

Western Hemisphere 50.5

South America 48.1

Violence & Security

Resilient
79.6

Western Hemisphere 55.0

South America 54.4

Corruption Resilience score over the time

Analysis

Uruguay's social context indicator score increased by 0.31 points from the previous year. The country has consistently been a top performer within the Western Hemisphere and South American regions with the social context indicator. Uruguay's indicator score is 25.08 points above the Western Hemisphere average of 64.89 for 2020. The decade range for the country is 3.31, where it attained its highest indicator score in 2020 with 89.97 and its lowest indicator score in 2015 with 86.66. The country's social context indicator score is mainly because civil liberties and political rights are guaranteed and respected. For example, the constitution protects freedom of speech, which is respected, and the press is independent and not vulnerable to politicization or threats.

The country's quality of government indicator score declined in 2020 by 0.36 points from the previous. Despite the decline in Uruguay's indicator score, the country again has scored above the Western Hemisphere average of 50.63 by 25.71 points. Throughout the decade, the country has consistently had an optimal indicator score, where it attained its highest score in 2016 with 79.50 and its lowest score in 2020, with a range of 2.13 points. The country's quality of government is mainly because of the country's effective control of corruption and effective and adequate system.

Uruguay's rule of law increased in 2020 by 0.12 points from the previous year. Uruguay's indicator score is 26.67 points above the Western Hemisphere average of 51.15 for 2020. Throughout the decade, the country has consistently had an optimal indicator score, where it attained its highest score in 2015 with 78.91 and its lowest score in 2020 with 61.11, with a range of 17.80 points. Since 2010 the country's indicator score has been improving. Uruguay's rule of law indicator score is primarily because of the independence of the judiciary and safeguards against politicization.

The country's business stability indicator score increased in 2020 by 0.87 points from the previous year. During the decade, the country's indicator score has varied, where the country achieved its highest indicator score in 2012 with 67.78 and its lowest indicator score in 2010 with 63.17, with a range of 4.61 points. Uruguay's indicator score is 13.85 points above the Western Hemisphere average of 50.53 for 2020. The country's indicator score is attributed to better control of corruption and an effective regulatory system that governs the private business sector.

Uruguay's violence and security indicator for 2020 increased by 4.06 points from the previous year. Uruguay's indicator score is 24.63 points above the Western Hemisphere average of 55.04 for 2020. Since 2010, the country has had a very high score compared to its counterparts in the Western Hemisphere.; however, in the last few years, the country has witnessed a slight drop but nothing too concerning. The country remains the safest when compared to other countries in the Western Hemisphere.

Transparency Record

Main Reporting NGO

Uruguay Transparente

Report date

Feb-2011

Review year

2011-2012

Document reviewed

Executive Summary

language

English

Did the government make public the contact details before the country focal point? Yes
Was civil society consulted in preparation for the self-assessment? No
Was civil society invited to provide information to the official reviewers? No
Was the self-assessment published online or provided to CSOs? Yes

Uruguay’s civil society parallel review report was authored by Uruguay Transparente, the Uruguayan branch of Transparency International. The report assessed the country’s compliance with articles 15, 16, 17, 20, 23, 26, 32, 33, and 46 of chapters III and IV of the UNCAC. The availability of information was relatively poor, as the administration does not keep updated records of restricted data. Generally, the report noted that the criminal justice system prioritizes discretion above the principle of access to information, and this is further strengthened by a lack of human and technological resources, as well as a culture of secrecy around criminal proceedings. In terms of the legal framework, Uruguay ratified IACAC in 1998 and boosts a regulatory system which addresses most points in UNCAC. In recent years the country has focused on employing tools that enhance the implementation system (i.e., creating courts and training prosecutors specialized in organized crime).

However, in terms of enforcement, there are difficulties surrounding the application of law into practice due to a shortage of resources. As a result, the independence of law enforcement officials and the transparency of the entire system is affected. This means that Uruguay does not possess the necessary resources to carry out the most effective investigations and consequently, submit data to allow civil society monitoring. To mitigate these discrepancies, the report highlights several priority area recommendations—namely the implementation of a publicly accessible system that hosts data concerning criminal proceedings, reconsidering the criminality of illicit enrichment, establishing more effective forms of deterrence to prevent corruption in the private sector, and lastly, developing state policies to raise awareness about preventing corruption for the public and private sectors.