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UN human rights office says Ecuador police used excessive force during protests

The United Nations Office for Human Rights claims that Ecuadorian police used “disproportionate and excessive force” in response to anti-government protests in October. The UN is urging Ecuador’s attorney general to conduct investigations into the alleged abuses.

Police confront protesters in Quito on October 11.

A UN team was in Ecuador from October 21 to November 8 to hear victim and eye-witness allegations of police brutality and arbitrary detentions that occurred during protests following a presidential decree eliminating fuel subsidies.

The protests, led by the country’s transportation workers and indigenous organizations from October 3 to 13, resulted in 9 deaths, 1,507 injuries, including 435 suffered by police, and 1,382 arrests.

In its report, the UN says that the government did not follow international norms in its reaction to the protests. In particular, the report said that police fired tear gas and rubber pellets at protesters at short range, resulting in hundreds of injuries, including many involving the loss of vision. “Proper criteria were not followed in confrontations with demonstrators,” the report said.

The vast majority of allegations of abuses were in Quito, the report said. “There were protests in Guayaquil, Cuenca, Ambato, Riobamba and Machala, but these were restricted to small areas of those cities and resulted in fewer injuries.”

The UN also called the nationwide state of emergency declaration “extreme and arbitrary” and said its enforcement in Quito in particular violated the rights of the entire population, not just protesters. In addition, it called many of the arrests “unjustified” citing the fact that most of those detained were released within 24 hours.

UN human rights commissioner and former Chilean president Michelle Bachelet claimed the protests “had a high human cost” and stressed that “people should be able to express their complaints without fear of being injured or detained.” She added that some of the blame rests with protesters and said there was no excuse for looting and damage to property.”

The UN plans to dispatch investigators to Chile, Bolivia and Colombia but says it must wait because protests in those countries are continuing. “At this point, it appears the protests and resulting deaths and injuries in Chile, Bolivia and Colombia are worse than in Ecuador.”

21 thoughts on “UN human rights office says Ecuador police used excessive force during protests

  1. “The UN is urging Ecuador’s attorney general to conduct investigations into the alleged abuses.” Really? Another joke upon the Ecuadorian people.

    1. The UN is a purely globalist organization bent on destroying nations to rule globally in a One-Size-Fits-All way. No thanks.

  2. “it called many of the arrests “unjustified” citing the fact that most of those detained were released within 24 hours”I wonder how long the UN thinks people should remain locked up after being identified to justify their detention???Maybe if they were locked up for weeks, months or years for the same thing, the UN would find that to be valid.

  3. I’m also wondering if the vast amount of arrests had something to do with the quick releases, Perhaps the fact that Quito does not have room to house a bunch of people. It would be nice if we could see mobs over run the UN assembly.

    1. If would be nice to see a country that actually abides by the conventions to which it agreed when it became party to the United Nations.

  4. And how about the UN investigates excesses by the protesters, such as vandalism, looting, and blocking access to whole cities.

  5. I would think the UN Human Rights Commission would be more interested in China’s organ transplants “on demand” for profit. The treatment of the Falun Gong and political prisoners used as organ transplant “volunteers” would be of more importance than “police misconduct” in Quito. Where else can one receive a liver transplant within a week of request?

    1. There is no evidence of any organ transplant industry. That BS narrative was created by Falun Gong’s media fronts and parroted by compliant western media outlets and gullible internet users.

      And for the record, just because something you think is worse is happening in one part of the world doesn’t mean the UN can’t report on something bad happening somewhere else.

  6. Lol They are asking the Attorney General to investigate?…She’ll say they didn’t use enough force..

  7. As someone whose apartment overlooked one of the police barriers, I believe the police here in Cuenca showed considerable restraint—only using tear gas when demonstrators pummeled them with rocks or attempted to storm the barriers. When only a few rocks were thrown or the demonstrators merely taunted them, they were very stoic and even sometimes friendly with the demonstrators. I was also impressed that all the police pistol holsters that I observed were empty, no lethal weapons were being carried. The soldiers, who generally were in reserve and not present at the barrier were carrying lethal weapons, however.

  8. Were there was excessive and unnecessary force it should be investigated (and punished) but frankly, the job of the police in any country is to preserve public order as well as public and private property. The photograph illustrating the article is a case in point – may and should the police have used force to avoid further damage there? You bet! Apart from that, looking at some of the rocks on the ground, probably pulled from the same street, they had every right to defend themselves.

    1. The people have every right to defend themselves from the imposition of destructive economic policies they never voted for.

      1. Nobody questions that right but throwing stones, destroying (historical/patrimonial) city centers, setting buildings on fire, invading private property is not a right anywhere – you are advocating lawlessness which is probably pretty easy to write for you from relative safety in the Galapagos. What constitutes “destructive economic policies” is an entirely different question. Spending more on diesel and gasoline subsidies than on education and health combined, and having done so for the greater part of 40+ years sure is destructive to me. To keep on paying those, ironically, will now force the government to seek additional debt, and in all likelihood at a higher rate than before since the country risk has risen to way more than 1000 points.

        It´s the government´s job to properly explain THAT to the people which it did not do, no doubt, but then, the country heard Leonidas Iza “explain” economics to the nation on the first night of the dialogue with the government. He said that “50 something billion dollars IN CIRCULATION in Ecuador should be sufficient to keep on paying all the subsidies it needs to.” He is an influential leader, his people follow him but he has no clue what he is talking about and was one of the organizers of the “demonstrations” which wreaked havoc on the country.

        1. When the protests began, Moreno said his position was non-negotiable. A week later he rescinded his executive order. You really think that would have happened by people simply stood silently holding signs?

          Incidentally, were you singing that same tune during the great Nutella uprising in 2015? How about when Andres Paez was attacking the CNE crying “FRAUD” after the 2017 election?

      2. …and while we are at it, one interesting detail that the Banco Interamericano de Desarrollo found with regards to what is really “destructive”: their recent analysis shows “que regresivo [es] el subsidio y básicamente por cada 9 dolares de subsidio a diésel solamente 1 dólar va a parar al quintil mas pobre de la población ecuatoriana.” (print edition El Mercurio, Oct 26; I was at the event)

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