The United Nations Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights believes that Ecuadorian government fiscal austerity measures will have a “disproportionate impact” on the country’s poor population. The committee also criticized the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for asking for deep cuts to some public services in exchange for providing loans.
“Following our evaluation, we are concerned that the government’s actions will affect the economic, social and cultural rights of disadvantaged populations despite the government’s claims to the contrary,” the committee said in a report. “Social investment to assist the poor, education and health budgets should not be affected in the effort to reduce the fiscal deficit.”
The committee said it recognized Ecuador’s need to reduce national indebtedness, but insisted that the austerity measures announced were “unbalanced and lacked sensitivity” to the condition of disadvantaged groups, including the indigenous, African-Ecuadorians and poor farmers. “We see many instances of discrimination in some of the government’s measures.”
The committee also criticized the IMF for “insensitivity” to the condition of poorer segments of the population. “While we believe the government was overly draconian in some of its proposals, we understand it was responding to demands of the IMF, which has a moral obligation to consider the rights of the people.”
The UN report also criticized the government’s declaration of a national state of emergency. “This is a mechanism to be used only in the most extreme circumstances and we do not believe the recent protests warranted such a call,” the report said. “Suspending the freedom of association and movement is a drastic action under any circumstances and we think these freedoms should have not have been curtailed during the events of early October in Ecuador.”