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Press briefing notes on Ecuador

Spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights: Ravina Shamdasani
Location: Geneva
Date: 25 February 2022

We welcome the positive steps taken this week towards prison reform in Ecuador, where about 300 people have been killed in prison violence in the last year and the prison population has tripled in 13 years.

On Monday, President Guillermo Lasso launched a new public policy on social rehabilitation aimed at guaranteeing access to basic rights for prisoners, among them the rights to health, food, water, education, and work. The new policy was developed with significant technical support from the UN Human Rights Office and UN Office on Drugs and Crime, and in consultation with a large cross-section of Ecuadorian society, among them government agencies, academics, non-governmental organizations, human rights defenders, and, crucially, the families of prisoners and prisoners themselves.

The President also ordered the release of some 5,000 prisoners as part of an early release programme, in a bid to reduce prison overcrowding.

We hope the new policy will be implemented to help shift Ecuador’s prison system away from over-reliance on punitive measures and towards crime prevention and to bring it into compliance with international human rights standards. We also hope this policy will inspire reform in other countries in the region facing similar challenges. We welcome these changes and call on the Ecuadorian authorities to ensure dedicated capacity is made available to enable implementation of the new policy. We also take this occasion to reiterate our call for prompt, thorough and impartial investigations into all deaths and serious injuries in custody. The victims and their families have a right to justice, truth, and reparations.

For more information and media requests, please contact:
Ravina Shamdasani - + 41 22 917 9169 / ravina.shamdasani@un.org or
Liz Throssell + 41 22 917 9296 / elizabeth.throssell@un.org

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