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Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination considers the report of Ecuador

9 de August, 2017

Photo: UN WebTVGENEVA (9 August 2017) – The Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination today concluded its consideration of the combined twenty-third and twenty-fourth periodic report of Ecuador  on its implementation of the provisions of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination.
 
Presenting the report, Rosana Alvarado, Minister of Justice, Human Rights and Culture of Ecuador, said that the 2008 Constitution recognized the right of all communities in Ecuador to freely maintain, develop and strengthen their identity, sense of belonging, ancestral traditions and forms of social organizations, and their right not to be subject to racism or any form of discrimination on the basis of origin, ethnic or cultural identity.  It also recognized communities’ right to prior, informed and free consent regarding the programmes and plans of exploitation and commercialization of their renewable resources and lands.  The National Plan for Good Living (Buen Vivir) 2013-2017 had laid down strategic guidelines for public management and the elimination of all forms of racial discrimination.  Significant affirmative actions for Ecuadorians of African descent and indigenous peoples had taken place.  
 
Rodrigo Collahuazo, President of the National Council for the Equality of Peoples and Nationalities, reaffirmed that Ecuador was building equality, plurality and interculturality.  The mobilization of indigenous peoples in June 1990 had called for the establishment of a plurinational Ecuador, of a new democracy and a new economy, leading to the drafting of a new Constitution that was based on rights and the principle of intercuturality.  The National Council for the Equality of Peoples and Nationalities protected indigenous peoples, the Montubios and Ecuadorians of African descent.  It brought together the State and civil society to produce cross-cutting public policies and to monitor their implementation.  
 
In the ensuing discussion, Experts commended the efforts of the Ecuadorian State to recognize collective rights, namely those of indigenous peoples, the Montubios and Afro-Ecuadorians.  They inquired about how indigenous identity was determined, the indigenous justice system and its relationship with the ordinary justice system, the right to free, prior and informed consent of indigenous peoples, the situation of environmental activists, the implementation of the National Plan for Buen Vivir (Good Living), the structural link between poverty and discrimination, the promotion of stereotypes in the media, the availability of education in indigenous languages, administrative barriers for migrants and refugees, labour conditions of migrant workers, human trafficking, the concept of universal citizenship, evictions from indigenous ancestral lands and land ownership, recognition of indigenous marriages, the right to material equality, granting of water exploitation licenses, racial discrimination complaints, statelessness, and the possibility to invoke the Convention in indigenous courts.      
 
In her concluding remarks, Ms. Alvarado thanked Experts for their interest in Ecuador and the Government’s achievements.  She noted that the new legislative architecture was in place, but it was up to the society to combat discrimination, poverty, and lack of opportunity through economic policies.  Globally, Ecuador had spoken against tax havens which impeded the fight against poverty.  The main wealth came from taxes coming from the people who were able to contribute, and not from the most vulnerable groups.  
 
Pastor Elias Murillo Martinez, Committee Expert and Country Rapporteur for Ecuador, commended Ecuador for having undergone a true citizen revolution in the past decade, with great strides taken in all social indicators, especially in eliminating extreme poverty.  He also welcomed the principle of universal citizenship, positive action measures for vulnerable populations, and ensuring that water remained a sovereign resource.     
 
Anastasia Crickley, Committee Chairperson, thanked the delegation and civil society for their participation in the dialogue, and she acknowledged Ecuador’s contribution to the Durban Conference, and its commitment to global tax justice.  
 
The delegation of Ecuador consisted of representatives of the Ministry of Justice, Human Rights and Culture, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Human Mobility, the Public Attorney’s Office, and the Permanent Mission of Ecuador to the United Nations Office at Geneva.  
 
The Committee will next meet in public today at 3 p.m. to start considering the combined first and second periodic report of Djibouti (CERD/C/DJI/1-2).   
 
Report
 
The combined twenty-third and twenty-fourth periodic report of Ecuador can be read here: CERD/C/ECU/23-24.
 
Presentation of the Report
 
ROSANA ALVARADO, Minister of Justice, Human Rights and Culture of Ecuador, said that in 2008 the Ecuadorian people had voted to adopt a new Constitution, conforming plurinational Ecuador.  The new Constitution allowed for the participation of women and indigenous peoples, and it recognized the rights of communities, peoples and nationalities as an important part of the Ecuadorian State.  It recognized their right to freely maintain, develop and strengthen their identity, sense of belonging, ancestral traditions and forms of social organizations, and their right not to be subject to racism or any form of discrimination on the basis of origin, ethnic or cultural identity.  It also recognized communities’ right to prior, informed and free consent regarding the programmes and plans of exploitation and commercialization of their renewable resources and lands, as well as to receive compensation for the social, cultural and environmental consequences of such exploitation.  Ecuador protected all of its peoples and nationalities.  Plurinational Ecuador was based on the concept of Sumak Kawsay or Buen Vivir (Good Living), which was a collective ancestral concept for achieving full life.  That concept allowed for a national dialogue about public policies from the point of view of plurinationality and interculturality.  The National Plan for Good Living (Buen Vivir) 2013-2017 had laid down strategic guidelines for public management and the elimination of all forms of racial discrimination.  Significant affirmative actions for Ecuadorians of African descent and indigenous peoples had taken place.  In 2016 Afro-Ecuadorians, Montubios and indigenous peoples represented 11 per cent of public servants.  
 
The Criminal Code criminalized any form of distinction, restriction, exclusion or preference based on nationality, ethnicity, place of birth, age, gender and sexual orientation, cultural identity, civil status, language, religion, ideology, socio-economic conditions, migration status, disability or health condition.  If acts of discrimination were carried out by a State official, they resulted in a prison sentence of three to five years in prison.  The Criminal Code also criminalized acts of hatred, which carried a prison sentence of 22 to 26 years if they led to the death of a person.  Significant progress had been made in the access of indigenous peoples, Montubios and Afro-Ecuadorians to health services.  In May 2017, the Government had adopted programme “Toda una Vida” to address the issues faced by vulnerable groups, such indigenous peoples, Afro-Ecuadorians, Montubios, women and children.  In 2006, the poverty rate among persons of African descent stood at almost 50 per cent, whereas it nowadays stood at 30.8 per cent.  The primary school attendance rate among Afro-Ecuadorians stood at 88 per cent in 2006, whereas in 2015 it had risen to 95.4 per cent.    
 
As part of the Government’s efforts to eliminate all forms of racial discrimination, guarantees had been made for the rights of migrants, refugees and asylum seekers.  The Law on Human Mobility of 2017 stipulated that the State should promote policies that allowed persons in mobility access to education and scholarships.  In Ecuador all persons enjoyed the same rights and foreigners gained the right to vote after five years of residence.  Ecuador was home to 60,500 recognized refugees, while another 200,000 were seeking refugee status.  In that context the Government had recognized the need to develop awareness-raising campaigns in order to fight xenophobia and to contribute to the construction of universal citizenship.  The Government had taken measures to ensure that indigenous peoples living in voluntary isolations, such as the Tagaeri and Taromenane, were treated adequately and with respect.  The Government was committed to continue establishing legal and political mechanisms to ensure the collective rights of peoples and nationalities, Ms. Alvarado concluded.   
 
RODRIGO COLLAHUAZO, President of the National Council for the Equality of Peoples and Nationalities, reaffirmed that Ecuador was building equality, plurality and interculturality.  The mobilization of indigenous peoples in June 1990 had called for the establishment of a plurinational Ecuador, of a new democracy and a new economy.  They had called for the drafting of a new Constitution resting on the rights and the principle of intercuturality.  The National Council for the Equality of Peoples and Nationalities protected the Montubio peoples and Ecuadorians of African descent.  The Council brought together the State and civil society to produce cross-cutting public policies and to monitor their implementation.  It was made up of delegates from all the branches of the Government – the executive, judiciary, legislative, electoral, and transparency and social control.  In addition, there were five representatives of indigenous peoples and nationalities.  The fundamental pillars of the Council’s agenda for 2017-2021 were: land and territories, collective rights, administration and access to justice, rights of Buen Vivir (Good  Living), economic rights, rights of participation, communication and information, and plurinationality and interculturality.  The Council’s challenges included empowerment of the Council’s agenda, commitment of all peoples of Ecuador to build a plurinational and intercultural country, eradication of racism and discrimination, and contribution to the International Decade for People of African Descent.
 
Questions by the Country Rapporteur
 
PASTOR ELIAS MURILLO MARTINEZ, Committee Expert and Country Rapporteur for Ecuador, raised questions about people of African descent, who made up 7.2 per cent of the population.  They were mostly present in the province of Esmeraldas.  The Montubios were a mixture of various peoples and lived mainly in the rural areas.  What criteria was used in defining indigenous nationalities and how many existed?   
 
The new political charter of Ecuador recognized the country’s national and cultural diversity.  Hate crimes had gained constitutional standing.  The Constitution recognized the concept of indigenous jurisdiction, which was a significant achievement.  Did the State have any statistics on hate crimes and how many cases had been tried, including information on sentences?  Did Ecuadorian legislation provide for a redress mechanism for hate crimes?  
 
The Constitution recognized the right to land for indigenous peoples and Afro-Ecuadorians.  What was the land distribution in that respect?  How many prior consultations with indigenous communities had been held?  How did indigenous jurisdiction work in practice?  What status did it have in legislation?  What was the situation of environmental activists and their relationship to prior consultations?  What were safety measures for corporation extraction activities in Ecuador?
 
The National Plan for Buen Vivir (Good Living) had benefited from the high prices of oil, leading to significant leaps forward in many areas.  Persons with disabilities had benefited greatly in terms of employment.  How did Ecuador plan to attain the goals outlined in the National Plan for Buen Vivir?  What role did indigenous peoples play in national debates?  There were some challenges, such as the early rupture between the Government of Raphael Correa and indigenous peoples over water resources.   There were also the effects of the global financial crisis.  
 
Political parties also had an impact on the attainment of goals and the sustainability of the citizens’ revolution.  How successful was the citizens’ revolution?  In spite of social gains, there was no narrowing of gaps.  Development was running along two different tracks: one for the lucky and another one for the common person.  There was a social gap between indigenous peoples and the white and mestizo population, and inequalities had not been reduced.  What were the social indicators for the evaluation of poverty and employment?  What did the State party intend to do to remove the structural link between poverty and discrimination?  
 
According to alternative reports, the State had failed to protect the right to free and prior consent of indigenous peoples within the framework of extractive industries.   Oil exploration licences covered 100 per cent of the territories of indigenous peoples.  What concrete measures had been adopted to reverse that situation?  Development and diversity were in conflict in Ecuador.   
 
Ecuador recognized the right to migrate through the adoption in 2017 of a law on human mobility.  However, some 56.5 per cent of Ecuadorians believed that there were too many foreigners in the country.  How was the State implementing the Law on Human Mobility?  Were deportation visas still in use?
 
What measures had the State party taken to eradicate in the media all those programmes that promoted stereotypes and wrongful views of multiculturality and diversity of the country?  
 
Questions by Experts
 
Experts raised the issue of distancing between the indigenous movement and the Government of Raphael Correa over the management of water resources.  The activities of indigenous leaders had been criminalized.  Were there any indigenous leaders in prison?  How long did they spend in pre-trial detention? 
 
Currently, there was only representation of five indigenous peoples.  Was the Government considering the return of indigenous representatives as advisers?  
 
The National Plan for Good Living 2013-2017 had closed bilingual schools in rural areas.  Did the Government intend to establish a new form of education from which indigenous populations could benefit from, especially in indigenous languages?  The closing of bilingual schools could lead to cultural assimilation.  
 
Experts also raised the issue of indigenous peoples’ right to prior, free and informed consent regarding oil and other extractive licences granted in their territories.  The State had failed to comply with that principle.  Extractive companies had come into conflict with indigenous communities who lived in voluntary isolation in the Amazon area, leading to serious loss of lives in those communities.  The inhabitants of the Yasuni national park had not been asked to grant their consent.  
 
Experts commended the State party’s 2017 Law on Human Mobility as a universal achievement.  Despite that approach, there were still administrative barriers for migrants and refugees to access basic services, such as education, healthcare and unemployment.   What was the Government doing to improve the situation?  What was the situation of stateless persons?  How vulnerable were Afro-Colombian children to school bullying?  What were the labour conditions of migrant workers?  
 
There was continued concern about trafficking of women to and from Ecuador for the purpose of sexual exploitation.   Ecuador was a country of origin, transit and destination for victims of labour and sexual exploitation.  Most of them came from Ghana, Cameroon, Nigeria, Chad, China, Pakistan, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Peru, Colombia, Venezuela and Haiti.  What had the State party done to combat human trafficking?  Was there a good level of knowledge about human trafficking in Ecuador?   
 
What challenges and progress had been made with respect to the implementation of the universal citizenship?  There had been information that universal citizenship had not been applied in an equal manner for Haitians, Cubans and Colombians.  What was the status of the detained and deported Cubans and Haitians?
 
GUN KUT, Committee Expert and Follow-up Rapporteur, reminded that the Committee had requested the State party to provide information within one year on its follow-up on the situation of indigenous peoples, the Montubios and Afro-Ecuadorians, and on harmonizing national and indigenous justice systems.  The State party had not replied to that request.  
 
What programmes had contributed to the decrease in the poverty rate among Afro-Ecuadorians?  What was the extent of the inclusive nature of the State administration?  Were there any Afro-Ecuadorians in senior decision-making positions?  What was the representation of indigenous peoples in elected posts?
 
To what extent was the cultural heritage of Afro-Ecuadorians given the same attention as the cultural heritage of indigenous peoples?  
 
There was a concern that development undermined diversity because multinational corporations were allowed to exploit the lands historically owned by indigenous peoples.  
 
How was the indigenous justice system implemented and how was it different from the ordinary justice system?  What kind of cooperation and coordination mechanisms existed between the two systems?  Why were indigenous marriages not recognized?  What kind of sentences had been passed in cases of racial discrimination?    
 
How did the State party guarantee the rights of domestic workers?  Were they victims of racial discrimination?  Were labour inspections carried out in middle-class and upper-class neighbourhoods?   
 
How did the State party treat the customary law of the Roma people?  
 
Experts recognized the efforts of the Ecuadorian State to recognize collective rights, namely those of indigenous peoples, the Montubios and Afro-Ecuadorians.  What were the criteria used for the adoption of positive action measures?  What was the right to material equality and how was it ensured?  
 
What was culturally relevant obstetric care, and what was the relationship between ancestral and ordinary medicine?
 
Could the provisions of the Convention be invoked before indigenous courts in the same way as before ordinary courts?  
 
What were the legal grounds for the eviction of indigenous peoples from their ancestral lands?  Were they compensated?  
 
What procedures had been established in cases of stereotypes and hate speech towards migrant workers and what kind of sentences had been handed down?  Were there cases of multiple discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation?
 
Replies by the Delegation
 
ROSANA ALVARADO, Minister of Justice, Human Rights and Culture of Ecuador, stressed that significant progress had been recorded in poverty reduction in Ecuador measured by various criteria.  Some 1.8 million people had been able to improve their situation.  
 
The National Secretariat for Water (SENAGUA) was headed by indigenous peoples, whereas the chair of the transparency and social control branch of the Government was an Afro-Ecuadorian women.  That testified to the commitment of the Government to hold a broad dialogue with all sectors of the society.  There was some exaggerated information about the arrest of indigenous leaders.  Out of 19 cases, eight had been acquitted.
 
Ms. Alvardo explained that if measured by income, the reduction of poverty amounted to 23 per cent.  In 2016 for the first time the Montubios and Afro-Ecuadorians had improved their situation vis-à-vis the white and mestizo population.  Extreme poverty had been halved.  The indigenous population had benefited most from that reduction of poverty.  However, indigenous peoples were more vulnerable in terms of food security.  According to the criterion of meeting basic needs, a nation-wide reduction of poverty had also been observed.  The past decade had seen the period of the greatest development for the most excluded and vulnerable groups in the country.  
 
The illiteracy rate for indigenous peoples had dropped from some 26 to about 16 per cent, whereas their school attendance, enrolment and completion had increased.  The indigenous peoples, the Montubios and Afro-Ecuadorians received greater attention by the Government in the area of education and housing.  There was no set formula for social public investment, but the Government applied the principle of tax justice.  With respect to progress in healthcare, the principle of ethnic self-identification was used to provide culturally specific healthcare services.  
 
Actions to protect indigenous peoples in voluntary isolation had been recognized internationally, and Ecuador was one of the leaders in that respect.  An executive decree of 2007 had defined the intangible area boundary across two Ecuadorian provinces, and a national policy had been drafted in 2007 to benefit the Tagaeri and Taromenane, and to protect their ancestral lands.  A plan of action for the intangible area sought to increase the number of check points at the intangible area boundary, conduct relevant training for the military to prevent the entry of third parties into the area, and to prevent hunting, fishing and logging in the area.  
 
The delegation explained that Ecuador had become a rather stable country due to deep-rooted changes.  In just 10 years it had nearly eradicated extreme poverty and had included indigenous peoples and Afro-Ecuadorians in the new development scheme.  Neo-liberalism had brought to Ecuador a devastating effect whereby poverty had become unbearable.  The 2008 Constitution enshrined water as a human right which would not be privatised.  Previously there had been a heightened grabbing of natural resources, including of water.  Historically, water management was extremely unfair in terms of access and distribution.  Capital was concentrated in the hands of a few who denied the access to water to others.  Since 2007 the Government had taken great strides to change the setting of the country and to recognize the rights of nature.  Ecuador was worried about the future effects of climate change on its population, which was why it aimed to end marginalization and exclusion, to regularize and legalize the use of water through licences, and to counter water waste.  The National Water Secretariat (SENAGUA) had the strongest ties with the indigenous and Montubio communities in the country.  Its goal was to provide quality water for all, to implement the integrated management of water resources through cross-border river basin councils, and to manage water risk.  The Secretariat worked together with all communities to democratize access to water.
 
RODRIGO COLLAHUAZO, President of the National Council for the Equality of Peoples and Nationalities, noted that despite the progress made in Ecuador, much remained to be done.  For example, the peoples and nationalities of Ecuador were still negatively affected by the activities of the Chevron corporation in the Amazon area.   There were 14 indigenous nationalities in Ecuador, in addition to the Montubios and Afro-Ecuadorians.  However, they were not the only ones who fought against discrimination and racism; that was the job of all.  
 
Speaking of the harmonization of indigenous and ordinary justice systems, Mr. Collahuazo stressed that there was a need for political will and proper implementation of public policies, in contrast to previous Ecuadorian Governments’ acceptance of the policies recommended by the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.  
 
The delegation underlined Ecuador’s commitment to international efforts to combat racial discrimination.  Ecuador was very active in the process leading up to the adoption of the International Decade for People of African Descent, as well as of the Sustainable Development Goals.  Tax justice was essential for the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.  
 
The Law on Human Mobility was without doubt an example of good practice to be emulated internationally.  It stipulated the principle of universal citizenship, prohibition of criminalization of human mobility, equality before the law, and non-discrimination.  In Ecuador the comprehensive protection of rights was the guiding principle for the Government’s struggle against discrimination.  Ecuador had positive actions favouring people in human mobility.  Ecuador had received 200,000 refugee requests, whereas it had granted 60,500.  The Government did not impose any restrictions on human mobility.  It had organized an awareness raising campaign for documenting migrants, especially of Haitian and Dominican nationals.  Supporting the rights of Ecuadorians abroad was part of the Government’s migration policy.  
 
Ecuador was one of the first countries to have enforced an indigenous system of justice. Every person had guaranteed access to justice and legal counsel.  The Constitution safeguarded indigenous justice.  Each indigenous community appointed an authority which administered justice in line with their own tradition.  Indigenous justice was a participative approach, which included the participation of women.  The rulings of indigenous courts were respected by national institutions in order to avoid double sentencing.  Ordinary judges did not try indigenous cases in order to respect the independence of indigenous appointments and rulings of their courts.  As for the possibility to challenge the decisions made by indigenous courts, the Constitutional Court could only analyse them.  
  
Follow-up Questions by Experts
 
PASTOR ELIAS MURILLO MARTINEZ, Committee Expert and Country Rapporteur for Ecuador, raised the issue of the lack of guarantees and assurances to protect the right of people to demonstrate.  There had been tensions with indigenous peoples, leading to the mushrooming of court cases.  Were the pardons and court acquittals part of the new Government’s policy?
 
What had happened with the enforcement of the 2012 decision of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights in the Sarayaku v. Ecuador case regarding the right of the Sarayaku Kichwa people to free, prior and informed consent on the exploitation of their lands?
 
How did land ownership function in Ecuador?  Some 82 per cent of farmers actually did not own the land they worked on, Mr. Martinez noted.
 
An Expert reminded that the executive could grant water exploitation licenses.  Who ensured that exploitation licenses would not be granted to private entities?  
 
Over 100 people had been tried for the crimes of halting public services, sabotage and rebellion.  The Public Prosecutor was concerned that the judicial system had tried highly vulnerable persons, namely indigenous leaders.  
 
One Expert reminded that in its 2012 observations the Committee had noted that when citizens in Ecuador had presented racial discrimination complaints before the courts, they had been rejected, especially when they had been indigenous peoples, Montubios and Afro-Ecuadorians.  
 
Administrative barriers prevented migrants and refugees to access basic services, such as education, healthcare and employment.  There was no process for statelessness.  How did the Government work with those cases?  What measures had the Government taken to counter bullying and racism in schools against children of African descent?
 
How were adequate labour conditions for refugee women ensured?  How many cases of human trafficking had been tried?  How long did migrants stay in the reception centre Hotel Carrión?
 
When people did not have a land deed, on what grounds were they evicted?  Did the State party intend to take legal measures to institutionalize coordination between indigenous and ordinary justice systems?  Could the provisions of the Convention be invoked in indigenous courts?
 
Replies by the Delegation
 
The delegation explained that in 1994 under a conservative Government a law had been passed which had put an end to collective indigenous territories and that had privatised water.  The indigenous movement rose up and managed to take out the issue of water from that law.  However, the law had been passed with the support of the World Bank.  According to the 2008 Constitution, ancestral lands could not be sold and divided. 
 
As for individual landownership in Ecuador, the Government had been issuing a large amount of land deeds to indigenous peoples, Montubios and Afro-Ecuadorians.  The Government aimed to award 5,000 land deeds in the first 100 days.
 
Concerning the 2012 Sarayaku v. Ecuador case, the Ecuadorian Government itself had asked for the oversight of enforcement of the decision of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights.  The public hearing on compliance had taken place in September 2016.  The State had presented all relevant information to dialogue with the indigenous community, and it had met the standard of compliance established by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights.  The Inter-American Court had recognized that Ecuador was the first regional country to recognize the right to free, prior and informed consent of indigenous peoples.          
 
ROSANA ALVARADO, Minister of Justice, Human Rights and Culture of Ecuador, stressed that social protests in Ecuador could not be criminalized, unless public services and property had been damaged.  She reminded that hate crimes and crimes of discrimination were criminalized in Ecuador, whereas aggravating circumstances were applied when they were committed by State officials.  The current justice system was lagging behind due to previous problems.  Nevertheless, it aimed to apply the principle of equal treatment before the law.  
 
As for complaints of hate crimes and racial discrimination, sometimes swift processes were applied depending on the severity of crimes.  The Ecuadorian State had resolved one case of severe racial discrimination within the military.  It had previously been unthinkable to have persons of African descent in the Ecuadorian diplomacy, whereas nowadays it was considered normal.  
 
The delegation agreed that legislative changes did not immediately lead to cultural changes.  The Law on Human Mobility was being disseminated in the public.  School bullying was a concern and recently the Government had started a comprehensive campaign on school bullying, focusing on xenophobia and racism.  As for deportations, in July 2016 Cuban citizens had requested means to go to the United States.  It was impossible for Ecuador to meet that request.  The reception centre (Hotel Carrión) for migrants had closed down.  
 
Indigenous courts had to respect the rights embodied in the Constitution, as well as the provisions of ratified international treaties.  According to the Constitution, nobody could be evicted from ancestral lands.  Evictions had been applied in cases of land invasion of non-ancestral lands.  There had been no formal complaints of discrimination involving the Roma in Ecuador.
 
ROSANA ALVARADO, Minister of Justice, Human Rights and Culture of Ecuador, clarified that indigenous marriages were recognized and respected.  However, all marriages had to be registered in the civil registry order to avoid child and early marriages.  Marriage was decoupled from ritual and ancestral indigenous traditions.
 
Statelessness was not a structural problem in Ecuador.  The Government advocated international protection of stateless persons.  There were no forced evictions of indigenous peoples, in line with the principle of universal citizenship.  
 
Concluding Remarks
 
PASTOR ELIAS MURILLO MARTINEZ, Committee Expert and Country Rapporteur for Ecuador, commended Ecuador for having undergone a true citizen revolution in the past decade, with great strides taken in all social indicators, especially in eliminating extreme poverty.  He also welcomed the principle of universal citizenship and positive action measures for vulnerable populations, such as reparations, and ensuring that water remained a sovereign resource.  Notwithstanding the remaining internal political tensions, Ecuador had a promising future.     
 
ROSANA ALVARADO, Minister of Justice, Human Rights and Culture of Ecuador, thanked Committee Experts for their interest in Ecuador and the Government’s achievements.  She noted that the media played an important role in shaping reality, which was why the Government was vigilant of the prejudices and stereotypes that they could fuel.  The new legislative architecture was in place, but it was up to the society to combat discrimination, poverty, and lack of opportunity through economic policies.  Globally, Ecuador had spoken against tax havens which impeded the fight against poverty, and undermined human rights and democracy.  The main wealth came from taxes coming from the people who were able to contribute, and not from the most vulnerable groups.  
 
ANASTASIA CRICKLEY, Committee Chairperson, thanked the delegation and civil society for their participation in the dialogue, and she acknowledged Ecuador’s contribution to the Durban Conference, and its commitment to global tax justice.

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