Spurious criminal charges were brought against human rights defenders, including Indigenous leaders. Human rights violations committed by security forces remained unresolved. Women living in poverty continued to lack access to good quality and culturally appropriate health services.
There were mass demonstrations, many led by Indigenous Peoples’ organizations, against government policies and legislation on issues such as natural resources; land; education; public services; and the lack of a clear process to guarantee the right of Indigenous Peoples to free, prior and informed consent on development projects and policies or legislation affecting them.
In February, Indigenous Peoples’ organizations withdrew from discussions with the government over legislation on mining, water, land, education and the environment, because they believed the government was failing to engage meaningfully with their concerns.
In September, hundreds of police officers demonstrated against what they considered cuts in their pay and benefits. This was regarded by the government as an attempted coup. At least eight people, including two police officers, died during the protests and scores were injured, including the President who was hospitalized for the effects of tear gas. By the end of the year, scores of police officers were under investigation for a range of offences.
In June, Ecuador became the first country to ratify the Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.Top of page
Charges of sabotage and terrorism were brought against human rights defenders, including Indigenous leaders, in an attempt to silence their opposition to government policies.
Further human rights violations by members of the National Police group in charge of organized crime (Grupo de Apoyo Operacional, GAO) were reported. The group has been linked to scores of cases of torture and other ill-treatment and possible extrajudicial executions since its formation in 1996.
In July, the UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial executions raised concerns that the vast majority of alleged killings, including killings by police, remained unresolved due to a lack of thorough and independent investigations, inadequate victim and witness support and protection, and delays and corruption in the justice system.
The Truth Commission in charge of investigating human rights violations between 1984 and 2008 published its final report in June. The Commission documented 118 cases, affecting 456 victims of arbitrary detention, torture, sexual violence, enforced disappearances and killings. The police were implicated in most of these crimes. The government made a commitment to bring the perpetrators to justice and to establish 12 special prosecutors to investigate these crimes. A draft law guaranteeing the right to reparation to victims of these violations was under discussion at the end of the year.Top of page
In September, the UN Special Rapporteur on indigenous people urged the government not to grant concessions for the extraction of natural resources, without a prior, broad and legitimate process of consultation and participation with the Indigenous communities affected.
In April, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights filed an application with the Inter-American Court of Human Rights on the case of members of the Kichwa Peoples of the Sarayaku community, in Pastaza province. The case related to oil extraction on community land without the Kichwa’s prior consultation, as well as to threats and intimidation against members of the community.Top of page
In January, the Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC) reported that many communities living in poverty still lacked access to good quality and culturally appropriate health services, despite efforts to extend access.
The CRC also raised concerns about the lack of access to information on sexual and reproductive health and the prohibition of emergency contraception.
Progress was made in reducing maternal mortality, according to official state figures. Other reports also indicated that Ecuador was making progress in reducing infant mortality. However, statistics continued to show great disparities between infant mortality in rural and urban areas and among Indigenous children.Top of page