Whilst Uruguay has not experienced any climate change litigation challenging ineffective climate action, cases can be brought based on the following grounds:
- Constitutional rights: An individual (or group of individuals) can claim before the national court challenging the state for ineffective climate action based on a violation of their rights ( (Article 47 Uruguay’s Constitution of 1966, reinstated 1985, with amendments through 2004). Whilst the environmental is of general interest and does not constitute a constitutional provision entitling a “right to a healthy environment” (Article 47 of Uruguay’s Constitution), the claimant can base their claim on other rights, such as a human rights violations, or those ratified by the constitution (Article 72 of Uruguay’s Constitution).
- Human Rights: Uruguay’s constitutional system allows for linking national provisions (with wide interpretive range) with international provisions (human rights treaties). Uruguay is a party to the American Convention of Human Rights (1969), as called Pacto de San José de Costa Rica) and San Salvador Protocol on Economic, Social and Cultural right, to which the latter ensures “Everyone shall have the right to live in a healthy environment and to have access to basic public services” (Article 11, para.1). Therefore, a wide interpretation of Article 72 of the Constitutioncould provide grounds to base a claim challenging a national climate law/policy where the claim is based on a strong reasoning of human rights violation. These grounds can only be based on the international treaties on human rights ratified by Uruguay.
To be granted standing, the General Process Code requires claimants to fulfil procedural requirements, such as proving a violation of their rights or by demonstrating a minimum interest in the case (Article 42). Furthermore, to bring a claim based on human rights violations, based on Uruguay’s ratified international treaties on human rights, individual(s) must prove direct damage has occurred and that they are entitled to claim the fulfilment of the treaty provision binding between states.
For more country specific context and relevant national climate change law see: https://climate-laws.org/geographies/uruguay
This country report has been produced by Aditi Shetye, C2LI Research Assistant, Iona McEntee, C2LI Senior Research Assistant and Juan Auz, C2LI Legal Analyst. This summary is based on Juan Manuel Rivero Godoy, “Climate change and the individual: Uruguay’s National Report” for the 2018 International Academy of Comparative Law Biannual Conference in Fukuoka, Japan.