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Declared internal armed conflict in Ecuador has led to “serious human rights violations”, says HRW

The organization Human Rights Surveillance (HRW) sent a letter this Wednesday to the president of Ecuador, Daniel Noboato warn that its decision to elevate the fight against organized crime to the category of “international armed conflict” lacks support and has contributed to “serious human rights violations” by the Police and Armed Forces.

“Violations include at least one apparent extrajudicial execution and multiple cases of arbitrary arrests and ill-treatment”, noted the international organization that defends human rights After interviewing a dozen victims of abuse, request information from the institutions of stateanalyze 33 photographs and videos and review court case files.

Police arrest a man during an operation in the Ciudad Victoria neighborhood, in Guayaquil, Ecuador, on May 8, 2024. (Photo Gerardo MENOSCAL / AFP) (GERARDO MENOSCAL/)

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Human Rights Surveillance stated that the decision Noboa elevating the fight against organized crime to the category of “internal armed conflict”, with which criminal gangs have been classified as “terrorist groups”, lacks a legal and “This could open the door to human rights violations.”

According to international law, the existence of an armed conflict depends on an objective analysis of criteria relating to the level of organization of armed groups and the intensity of hostilities.“He explained HRWfor whom the Government of Noboa “did not present sufficient evidence that clashes with criminal groups constitute a non-international armed conflict”.

The statement “internal armed conflict” in Ecuador was accompanied by a state of exception whereby Noboa militarized prisons, one of the epicenters of the country’s violence crisis, as many of them were controlled by criminal gangs, and also allowed the Armed Forces to patrol and participate alongside the Police in anti-crime operations. organized crime in the streets.

A police officer searches a man during a security operation in Guayaquil, Ecuador, on April 1, 2024. (Photo by MARCOS PIN/AFP)

A police officer searches a man during a security operation in Guayaquil, Ecuador, on April 1, 2024. (Photo by MARCOS PIN/AFP) (MARCOS PIN/)

The state of emergency was in effect from January 8th to April 7th, and resulted in the deaths of around twenty alleged criminals, identified by authorities as “terrorists“, like this more than 18,400 arrests.

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Possible extrajudicial execution

In a case documented by Human Rights Surveillancesoldiers killed on February 2 in Guayaquil for Carlos Javier Vega19 years old, and injured his cousin Eduardo Velasco, whom the Armed Forces accused of having allegedly attempted “getting out of control, attacking military personnel” and called them “terrorists”.

The interviews of Human Rights Surveillance with witnesses, family members and lawyers of the victims, along with videos and photographs that have been verified, and court documents, contradict the version of the Army.

Many of the people reported as detained were not presented to the Public Prosecutor’s Office and appear to have been detained for brief periods outside the prison.the legal process and, according to videos and photographs published on the Internet and verified by Human Rights Surveillancesubjected to reprimands, beatings and other degrading treatment.

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Cases of torture in prison

HRW He also reported that “The military, which has controlled Ecuadorian prisons since January, has kept detainees incommunicado, sometimes hindering their right to consult lawyers or obtain health care”.

Soldiers appear to be responsible for multiple cases of mistreatment and some cases of torture in prisonadded the organization.

Human rights He lamented that “Authorities appear to have taken few steps to prevent violations of the human rights o ensure that those responsible are held accountable for their actions”.

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Noboa called the complainants ‘antipatria’

Furthermore, Noboa accused the organizations and institutions that they reported violations of human rights in militarized prisons and promised absolute support for Police and Armed Forces.

The government must respond to violence with an effective security policy that protects Ecuadorians and respects human rights.“said HRW’s director for the Americas, Juanita Goebertus.

Ecuadorian police forces carry out a security operation as part of the fight against extortion gangs in a favela in northeast Guayaquil, Ecuador, on April 4, 2024. (Photo by Gerardo MENOSCAL/AFP)

Ecuadorian police forces carry out a security operation as part of the fight against extortion gangs in a favela in northeastern Guayaquil, Ecuador, on April 4, 2024. (Photo by Gerardo MENOSCAL/AFP) (GERARDO MENOSCAL/ )

The homicides in Ecuador increased by 574.30% between 2019 and 2023, which increased the rate of homicides from just over 7 to more than 47 per 100,000 inhabitants, according to data from the Ecuadorian Observatory of Organized crime.

And although homicides were reduced by around 27% during the state of emergency“extortion and kidnappings have increased, and the recent murders of three mayors and the director of a prison show “The situation remains serious.”he concluded HRW.

Source: Elcomercio

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