Ecuador rips U.S. criticism on human rights

The Ecuadorean government has emphatically rejected an annual report on human rights issued this week by the U.S. State Department in which the Obama administration charges Ecuador with curbing the freedoms of expression, press and association and subverting the judiciary power.

“The main human rights abuses were violations against the integrity of the person; restrictions on freedom of speech, press, and association; and violence and discrimination against vulnerable groups,” the State Department report said.

“The government used legal mechanisms, such as libel laws and administrative regulations, to suppress freedom of the press, and societal aggression against journalists continued. [...] Corruption was widespread, and transparency within the judicial sector continued to be an issue.”

To read the entire report, in English, click here.

In response, the Ecuadorean Foreign Ministry issued a communiqué that Progreso Weekly has translated and publishes here in full. The nation’s foreign minister is Ricardo Patiño.

“With relation to the 2013 Annual Report on Human Rights recently published by the Department of State of the United States, the Ministry of Foreign Relations and Human Mobility of Ecuador states the following:

“This Chancery rejects the unilateral criticism heaped on this subject against Ecuador by the United States, a country that, in addition, presents a poor record on compliance with Human Rights in the past several years.

“It is worth remembering, among other examples, the illegal detentions, the absence of judicial process and the tortures at the Guantánamo prison; the persistence of the application of the death sentence; the illegal and criminal blockade against Cuba, repudiated by the entire international community; the use of unmanned aircraft to murder hundreds of citizens worldwide without judicial or due process; the persistence of impunity for those responsible of the invasion of Iraq with false arguments acknowledged by the U.S. authorities themselves, which meant the death of hundreds of thousands of innocent citizens.

“Instead of wasting its time elaborating fanciful lists of countries that, according to its biased view, violate human rights worldwide, a behavior that was rejected by the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) at its Second Summit in January 2014, the United States would do well in ratifying at least five international documents:

  1. the American Convention on Human Rights (the San José Pact);
  2. the Universal Convention Against Torture;
  3. the Universal Convention of the Rights of Children;
  4. the International Convention on the Rights of Migrant Workers and their Families, and
  5. the Vienna Convention on the Right of Treatises, among other instruments of International Law, so that [the U.S.] may thus join, in a condition of equality with the other States, the multilateral systems of protection and promotion of human rights.

“It is necessary to stress that, in addition to advocating human rights with real commitment and efficiency, the Ecuadorean State has signed and ratified all of the inter-American instruments for the protection of human rights, while the United States, which with the elaboration of its “report” presumes to become a judge of the other countries, has not signed any of said instruments, demonstrating in practice its nonexistent concern for the establishment of a true system of protection and regional defense of human rights.”

To read the Ecuadorean Foreign Ministry’s response, in Spanish, click here.

[Photo shown above is of Ecuador's foreign minister Ricardo Patiño.]

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