U.N. Experts Condemn Ecuador for Suppressing Civil Society

Posted on December 30, 2016 • Filed under: Conflicts, Ecuador, Human Rights Latin America

30 December 2016 – Five United Nations human rights experts have condemned Ecuador for suppressing civil society following a Government order to close a non-governmental organization (NGO) that supports environmental and indigenous rights.

“The Government of Ecuador seems to be systematically dissolving organizations when they become too vocal or challenge government orthodoxy,” they said in a news release from the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR). “This strategy to asphyxiate civil society has been implemented via two decrees – 16 and 739 – which give the authorities powers to unilaterally dissolve any kind of organization.”

“The direct consequences,” they said, “are the progressive silencing of any group that challenges or offers alternative ideas to those of the government and thereby reducing visibility of the situation of vulnerable and marginalized people.”

Acción Ecológica, an NGO, has been supporting the Shuar, an indigenous people who is trying to halt mining on a territory they claim as theirs. On 18 December, the NGO called for a Peace and Truth Commission to investigate attacks on indigenous and environmental rights. Two days later, the Ministry of the Environment began a dissolution process, allowing the NGO only 24 hours to respond and 10 days to present evidence in their defence.

“Dissolving groups is the most severe type of restriction on freedom of association,” announced the human rights experts. Read Article

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Human Rights Latin America