N° 68/10




Washington, D.C., July 12, 2010 – The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights deeply regrets the deaths of twelve prisoners in the regional prison (Cárcel Departamental), of Rocha, in Uruguay. The IACHR calls on the State to urgently adopt the necessary measures to diligently investigate and to prevent similar events to happen again.


According to the information received, twelve persons died and at least other eight were injured as a result of a fire that took place July 8, 2010, in the regional prision of Rocha. 


The IACHR expresses solidarity with the families of the inmates who died and with those who were injured.


The IACHR notes as positive the public apologies offered by the President of Uruguay, José Mujica, in relationship with these events. However, the IACHR recalls that the State stands in a special position of guarantor regarding the rights of persons deprived of their liberty. This means that the act of imprisonment implies a specific and material obligation of the State to guarantee the life and personal integrity of the inmates. This obligation to guarantee implies that the State must take all the necessary measures to prevent any type of risk situation that seriously threatens the fundamental rights of the inmates. Moreover, the States, as guarantors of the rights of the persons deprived of liberty, have the obligation to investigate, on its own initiative and with due diligence, any violations to the right to life and personal integrity that occur inside the prisons.


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 Commission is composed of seven independent members who act in a personal capacity, without representing a particular country, and who are elected by the OAS General Assembly.



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