FIDH and its Ecuadoran members call for immediate end to state of emergency

Press release
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Veronica Lombeida / AFP

On Friday, 17 June, 2022, Ecuadoran President Guillermo Lasso decreed a state of emergency in the provinces of Pichincha (Quito), Cotopaxi, and Imbabura in response to the public disturbances resulting from the national Indigenous strike. This decision was accompanied by an order of the Public Prosecutor’s Office to raid the Casa de la Cultura in Quito, hours before the Indigenous people marched into the city to rest there.

The national strike, which began on 13 June 2022, with the support of Ecuador’s main social organisations, is in response to the serious situation resulting from:
 the general increase in the cost of living;
 the advance of the extractive frontiers and the socio-environmental impacts;
 the violation of the collective rights of Indigenous peoples and communities;
 job insecurity;
 the threat of privatisation of public goods and services;
 disrespect for peasant production;
 the neglect of health and education;
 and the dramatic levels of violence.

FIDH and its member organisations denounce the declaration of a state of emergency that seeks to impede the right of Indigenous peoples to express their demands and to demonstrate. This was amplified by the criminalisation of the Indigenous leader Leónidas Iza and the raid on the Casa de la Cultura, under the false pretext of seizing explosives — which were not found — and with the aim of militarising a space that has historically housed the Indigenous population when it visits Quito.

For this reason, we ask the government and the Constitutional Court to revoke the state of emergency, which has led to 39 human rights violations and 79 arrests; in this context, one person died and 55 others were injured, according to the Alianza de Organizaciones por los Derechos Humanos (Alliance of Human Rights Organisations).

The state of emergency, announced by Decree No. 455 and the subsequent Decree No. 459, which broadens the state of emergency in the provinces of Chimborazo, Pastaza, and Tungurahua, puts the socio-political, economic and cultural rights of the entire population at risk by restricting their right to freedom of association and assembly. This decree also guarantees the mobilisation and participation of the armed forces in the reestablishment of public order and the possibility of carrying out requisitions of goods or services, as occurred during the raid on the Casa de la Cultura.

FIDH and its member organisations are extremely concerned about the disproportionate violence that may be exercised against the Indigenous people walking towards Quito. We call for no violence against them and for the opening of a space for equal dialogue that takes into account the demands of the organisations and social movements.

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