IN THE CONTEXT OF SOCIAL PROTESTS IN JUNE 2022
The International Land Coalition Latin America and the Caribbean - ILC LAC - expresses its deep concern about the violent events and human rights violations that have been taking place in Ecuador, in the context of the indefinite national strike called by indigenous and social organisations since the June 13th in the face of the deep political, economic and social crisis that the country is going through.
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Since the start of the strike, various organisations have denounced the state's violent response to legitimate social protest. The repression has left a tragic toll of five people dead, 166 injured, 64 violations recorded and 108 arrests. Human rights violations are associated with the excessive use of force, arbitrary arrests of demonstrators, protest criminalisation, and intimidation of social and civil society organisations, among others.
The ILC LAC joins in the rejection of the state of emergency that restricts the right to free association and assembly, as well as the inviolability of the home and free transit, putting at risk the socio-political, economic and cultural rights of the population, and demonstrating the intention to prevent indigenous peoples, Afro-Ecuadorians and popular organisations from meeting and mobilising for the vindication of their rights, while at the same time legitimising the progressive use of force. This is also manifested in the occupation of autonomous institutions by police forces, and the arbitrary detention and criminalisation of dozens of rights defenders, such as Leonidas Iza, president of the Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador (CONAIE) and a leader of the indigenous movement.
These social mobilisations are a response to the profound crisis facing the country, which is hitting hardest those groups of the population that have historically been excluded, such as indigenous peoples, Afro-Ecuadorians, peasant and popular sectors, women and dissidents, among others. The economic crisis and inequality - exacerbated by the extractivist policies promoted by the current government and its predecessors - are expressed in the lack of opportunities and the deterioration of living conditions, health, education, agricultural production, conservation, and the continued reduction of social policies.
We urge the state to protect the fundamental rights, life and integrity of all people. The right to protest must be respected, avoiding at all times the improper use of force. We urge the government to promote a call for non-discrimination, hatred and racism against the indigenous, afro-Ecuadorian and montubio nationalities and peoples of the plurinational and intercultural state. Likewise, it is necessary that the violations carried out in the framework of the mobilisations be investigated and that those responsible be brought to justice.
We encourage the opening of spaces for dialogue between the different parties to effectively and urgently address the legitimate demands and claims of the social organisations, to tackle the structural causes of the protests.
The ILC LAC reaffirms its commitment to the indigenous peoples, afro-Ecuadorians, montubios and communities in the struggle for their rights and better living conditions, as well as its support to the Platform for Land and Sustainable Territories of Ecuador to continue promoting actions aimed at securing access to land, the defence of territories and food sovereignty in the framework of the recognition of a plurinational and intercultural State.
We call on the United Nations, the Inter-American Human Rights System and other international organisations to watch over human rights in Ecuador, and to act to prevent further violations against the population in the context of the mobilisations. In particular, we request the attention and pronouncement of the UN Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples.
Finally, we warn that the political crisis that Ecuador is going through is part of a phenomenon that can be observed in different countries of the region, where the capitalist development model, which favours extractivism, has aggravated the climate and food crises, generating alarming levels of inequality and exclusion. Reversing this situation is urgent to guarantee democracy and peace in the Latin American region.
International Land Coalition - Latin America and the Caribbean
24 June 2022