July 20, 2019

Uruguay: views and visions

H.E. Ambassador Laura Dupuy Lasserre is the Ambassador of the Oriental Republic of Uruguay to the Kingdom of the Netherlands. After graduating in International Relations and pursuing three years of legal studies at the Universidad de la República Oriental del Uruguay, Ambassador Dupuy Lasserre pursued the diplomatic career. In her high-profile career, she was President of the United Nations Human Rights Council in 2011-12, being the first woman to chair it, on behalf of GRULAC; while being Uruguay’s Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva (2009-2014).

During a lunch at the emblematic Hotel Des Indes in The Hague, Ambassador Dupuy Lasserre discussed with Diplomat Magazine her views and vision for Uruguay and its relations with the Netherlands.

Ambassador Dupuy, what is the role of your country, Uruguay, on the international scene?

Uruguay is a country traditionally committed to the multilateral system and the principles of the United Nations, including the support of peace and security, democracy, the rule of law, as well as respect of human rights and fundamental freedoms of all persons.

Uruguay has a long history as an active member of the international community, since even before the founding of the UN. The country has always been committed to promoting the establishment of international rules, the respect of international law, and the peaceful settlement of disputes.

Uruguay has played a relevant role in this regard since the beginning of the 20thcentury, as shown by the many proposal put forward in terms of resolution of interstate disputes, genocide, and monitoring of human rights violations. Moreover, the country has been active on the death penalty (which was abolished by Uruguay in 1906, the first state doing so), as well as on the promotion of equal rights and obligations for men and women in the UN framework. 

While Uruguay promotes peace and human rights in the international scene, what is the situation inside the country?

In the domestic sphere too, the human rights perspective permeates every national policy or legislation. For instance, Uruguay, by popular initiative, changed its Constitution in 2004 to guarantee the access to fresh water and sanitation as a human right, and in 2010 it has supported similar efforts at the UN level. 

Similarly, concerning the issue of migration, Uruguay is not only a Party to the UN Convention, but it has also had open policies. This is natural given the important migratory flows that the country received over the last centuries, especially from Europe. These migratory flows have brought to the country cultural diversity and richness to the country: look for instance at tango, a mix of European, local, and afro rhythms.

H.E. Ms. Laura Dupuy Lasserre, Ambassador of Uruguay

How do you see the relations between Uruguay and the Netherlands in their current state? What are the prospects for development during your tenure as Ambassador?

Uruguay and the Netherlands have historically enjoyed good diplomatic relations, and since 2018 the Netherlands has even become our first trade partner in Europe with respect to exports. Moreover, the two countries have striking similarities, such as concerning the importance of agricultural exports and the exposure to climate change.  

Therefore, on the one hand Uruguay can learn a lot from the Dutch experience, for instance in agribusiness value chains, as well as in the coordination between the public, private, and academic sectors in a number of different fields. On the other hand, Uruguay can share its experience in other fields, such as for instance energy transition (nowadays, renewable sources cover more than 98% of Uruguay’s electricity), tobacco control, UN Peace Operations, as well as digital government, connectivity, and social inclusion.

What is the role for Uruguay in the multilateral institutions that are headquartered here in The Hague?

Historically, Uruguay has contributed to the International Court of Justice through the legacy of Professor Eduardo Jiménez de Aréchaga, first judge and then President of the ICJ. Our will is to contribute in a similar way to the important work of the International Criminal Court and other bodies such as the Permanent Court of Arbitration, with which Uruguay has recently signed a MoU.

Moreover, the country remains fully commitment to promote disarmament and chemical safety, for instance through the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, as well as to foster the teaching and the respect of International Law and International Private Law. 


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