Ecuador has made significant progress in “re-establishing” a political climate that supports human rights, according to the international non-profit group Human Rights Watch (HRW). During the administration of former president Rafael Correa, HRW had criticized government policies it claimed stifled dissent and restricted freedom of expression.
“We are pleased to see the progress made by the current government to reverse practices that we considered autocratic and undemocratic,” José Miguel Vivanco, HRS director for the Americans, said Monday at a symposium at the Universidad Andina in Quito. “Today, Ecuador is in the top rank of Western hemisphere countries in supporting the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights.”
Vivanco, a Chilean and Harvard law graduate, cited the current debate to revise Ecuador’s communications law as an example of progress. “Legislators are eliminating the media watchdog agency created by the previous regime that served to stifle a free press,” he said. He also applauded the dismissal of the Correa administration’s judicial council and its director, Gustavo Jalkh, which he claimed “interfered in a a free and impartial” administration of justice.
During Monday’s symposium, Ecuador’s Defensora del Pueblo, Gina Benavides, outlined her office’s recent activities to support gender equality, rights of indigenous people and free mobility within the country as well as across borders.