A complicated and complex country, Ecuador has undergone a range of human rights abuses and solutions. Below are the top 10 facts about human rights in Ecuador, which includes the mistreatment of prisoners and corruption in government processes.
Top 10 Facts About Human Rights in Ecuador
- The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) held hearings over the issues of violence and human rights; however, there were concerns over a lack of state representatives at the hearings. While the IACHR is trying to address social problems in Ecuador, there is still a lack of governmental involvement and interest to have human rights legislation passed.
- While the constitution prohibits the use of excessive force, torture or cruel punishment, there have been reports of police officers and guards abusing subjects: On September 4, 2017 human rights organizations reported allegations of torture amongst inmates at the Turi prison center; a doctor examined one of the prisoners and confirmed the claims. Judge Alfredo Serrano acquitted 15 police officers and dismissed charges against 32 other officers under investigation of abuse and exercising excessive force.
- President Lenin Moreno publicly endorsed respect for free speech and civil society. In 2013, the previous president Rafael Correa signed a communications law that prohibits and punishes media outlets that cover government issues that are considered public interest — limiting freedom of speech. Lenin Moreno, the new president, was elected last year and expressed interest for supporting freedom of speech.
- Prison and Detention Centers have harsh living conditions. Food shortages, overcrowding, harassment from prison guards and meager sanitation and medical services prove to make living conditions severe. Some facilities are reported to have medical services but only for emergency care — medicines are often unavailable and most do not have access to dental care.
- Prison officials ignore human rights activists and relatives of the inmates. Officials were expected to provide monthly provisions for prisoners which they did not and would not allow for relatives to purchase basic supplies — such as clothes and toiletries — outside of the detention center.
- Some prisoners in these detention centers had not been released after serving their time. Due to corruption and bureaucratic insufficiencies, inmates remained incarcerated even after they had served a full sentence.
- Refugees and migrants are denied basic due process. About 150 Cubans were apprehended during a raid in a park — they were protesting an inability to obtain a humanitarian visa from Mexico, which would allow them to travel to the U.S. border. The judges handling the cases did not follow due process and ordered the deportation of the refugees. They were deported before having a chance to appeal their cases.
- The government can intervene with nongovernmental organizations. Correa implemented a decree in 2013 that allows the government to interfere with nongovernmental organizations — the decree has dissolved an environmental group and one of the oldest unions of teachers.
- There has also been corruption in arbitrary arrests. Under the constitution, citizens of Ecuador are protected from arbitrary arrests and any person can challenge the lawfulness of their arrest. On April 27, 2018, Jimpikit Agustin Wachapa, an indigenous leader, was released after being incarcerated in a maximum-security prison —since December of 2016 — in the town of Latacunga without a judicial order.
- Violence against women is also a consistent human rights issue. In November of last year, the national assembly passed legislation that would protect women and girls from abuse and mistreatment; however, president Moreno partially vetoed the bill and proposed modifications in December.
Creating Postive Change
These are the top ten facts about human rights in Ecuador. They are the pressing matters amongst the public, those in detention centers and human rights advocacy groups in Ecuador. Such facts deserve global recognition, consistent improvement and high prioritization.
– David Daniels