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Human rights group claims obstruction in its investigation of government violence while the OAS praises Moreno for ‘restraint’

The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) claims it has repeatedly faced “official obstruction” in its investigation of government abuse against protesters in the October protests. On Wednesday, members of the IACHR team were prevented from taking video and audio recordings during interviews at the Cotopaxi federal prison.

Ecuador Ombudsman Edwin Piedra

IACHR is conducting interviews in Quito, Cuenca, Riobamba, Ambato and Guayaquil of those who claim they were victims of government violence between October 4 and October 13. IACHR is being hosted by the Ecuador’s Ombudsman, a government office charged with defending the human rights of Ecuadorian citizens.

Meanwhile on Wednesday, Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS) Luis Almagro praised President Lenin Moreno for Ecuador’s “extraordinary restraint” shown during the protests.

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Chief Ombudsman Edwin Piedra complained that the IACHR team faced a very “unpleasant situation” at the Cotopaxi prison Wednesday morning in its talks with prisoners allegedly held for political reasons. “They were forced to erase audio and video recordings that are part of their investigation,” he said. The team was at the prison to talk to Pichincha Province Prefect Paola Pabón and former vice president Jorge Glas, among others. “I’m sure this harassment, which is not part of the official rules, will be reported in the investigation,” he said.

Piedra said that in its interviews, IACHR is discovering what he calls a “pattern of excessive force” used by national police and the armed forces against protesters. “The team has much more work to do but I believe that their final findings will report that government forces acted with unnecessary violence toward the people of Ecuador.”

At a meeting at the Technical University of Cotopaxi Wednesday afternoon, victims and family member of those injured during the protests provided details of what they claim was unjustified force against protesters.

Piedra said that the IACHR has a history of being treated badly in Ecuador. “During the presidency of Rafael Correa, they were insulted and obstructed from doing their job when they investigated attacks by police on indigenous protesters,” he said. Correa called IACHR “an illegitimate puppet of the U.S.”

In his praise for Moreno following a Wednesday meeting in Quito, Almagro said that the government “exercised compassion and restraint” in dealing with violent circumstances during the protests. “I want to congratulate the president on the decisions he made in the days of the protest and for his efforts to isolate the social protest from the violent criminality that infiltrated the protest is some instances.”

He added: “The right to peaceful protest should always be protected but it is important to recognize the threat from those who do not respect the principles of democracy and human rights.”

6 thoughts on “Human rights group claims obstruction in its investigation of government violence while the OAS praises Moreno for ‘restraint’

  1. So will this group investigate the abuse of my rights during the protests. I was prevented from going home from Guayaquil to Cuenca when I landed and that is an abuse of my rights to freedom of movement in the country. Not to count the cost of a hotel room for 7 nights as well as the cost of the flights to get back to Cuenca and the return trip to Guayaquil later to retrieve my car. I believe the police were extremely restrained. If this was North America, or Europe for that matter (see Barcelona) or closer to home in Chile and the guns would be blazing and the terrorists doing the blockades would be dead or in the hospital. I am not advocating the use of deadly force at all, I am saying that peaceful protest does not involve hitting reporters on the head with stones or burning government property or kidnapping people. In these obvious criminal activities we witnessed, the rule of law should have prevailed. But as often we have seen, the police really stays away from confronting protesters peaceful or not. We tried to make it home by two different routes and at both blockades we encountered in 2 different routes to get to Cuenca there was no police presence.

    1. I agree with you. Same happened to us about one hour outside of Cuenca. The indigenous protesters were hurting their own people by closing down roads for days. Farmers were not allowed to bring their produce to the nearby towns for sale, we were not allowed to pass the roadblocks to get to town for shopping. I don’t even think these roadblocks in the outskirts were organized. Couple of guys got power-greedy and blocked the roads with tree trunks not letting anyone through, except police and ambulance cars. Private cars were lining up for about a mile or so from both directions. The protesters let the police through but the police did nothing to help others to get through also. There were women crying / pleading with the protesters trying to explain they had to get home to feed their farm animals. The protesters did not give a damn. That’s why I am saying they were hurting the ones that needed help. Didn’t make any sense. I was wondering the whole time who gives them the right to stop people in their freedom of movement? Or isn’t that a right everybody has in Ecuador?

    2. “Rights” are, tragically, ephemeral things, gone in an instant like smoke in a breeze. Only happy societies seem to be able to keep them intact for long periods.

  2. When enough citizens get armed there and F A R C comes in to help them the corrupt government in Ecuador will be over thrown. There ..is going to be an all out revolution. People are fed up.

    1. Warren Sord says “There ..is going to be an all out revolution.”

      Can’t come soon enough. Just hoping that the Anglo Spring starts in the largest cesspool of human detritus known to mankind, otherwise known as Washington, D.C.

    2. FARC is more corrupt than the government and FARC is a lot more dangerous to deal with. Wouldn’t take them long to kill.
      NOPE NOPE do not want any help from FARC

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