In its periodic review of the country’s human rights record, a United Nations panel gives Ecuador high marks for its record on poverty reduction, handicapped accessibility, expansion of right for women and children, and immigration.
But the panel, which included representatives of several dozen nations participating in the review, criticized the government for restrictions on freedom of speech, harsh treatment of political opponents, lack of separation of judicial and executive powers, and its abortion laws.
The comments will be analyzed by the UN Human Rights Council, which will deliver a final report in September.
During the hearings, Ecuador Foreign Minister Guillaume Long presented the government’s report on human rights improvements since the last review, in 2012
“We have dramatically reduced economic inequality in Ecuador, which is a major problem in Latin America,” Long told the panel. “Our record on the reduction of poverty and increasing basic salaries is the best in the region and one of the best in the world.”
He also said that improvements in health care and education promise “a bright future for population groups that have traditionally been marginalized.”
Representatives from several countries said that Ecuador’s record on freedom of expression is poor. “Ecuador continues to lag behind much of the world in guaranteeing freedom of the press and freedom of speech,” said a spokesman from Great Britain. “The government wants to impose its will on the private media in ways that are unacceptable by modern, progressive standards. It also attempts to intimidate those who oppose its policies.”
Norway and Iceland criticized Ecuador’s law that prevents abortion in cases of rape and incest.