PI to the United Nations: Protect Ecuador's Democracy

Members of the Progressive International urge the United Nations to safeguard democracy in Ecuador.
Democracy in Ecuador is under attack. Members of the Progressive International call on Michelle Bachelet (UN High Commissioner for Human Rights) and Clément Nyaletsossi Voule (Special Rapporteur on the Rights to Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association) to take steps to safeguard Ecuadorian democracy and restore political and civil rights to the people of Ecuador.
Democracy in Ecuador is under attack. Members of the Progressive International call on Michelle Bachelet (UN High Commissioner for Human Rights) and Clément Nyaletsossi Voule (Special Rapporteur on the Rights to Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association) to take steps to safeguard Ecuadorian democracy and restore political and civil rights to the people of Ecuador.

Urgent Call for Free and Fair Elections in Ecuador

Dear High Commissioner Bachelet and Special Rapporteur Voule,

We are witnessing the collapse of democratic institutions in Ecuador. With this letter, members of the Progressive International call on you to take urgent action — within your diplomatic capacity, mandate and mission — to restore democratic rights in Ecuador and prevent irreparable damage to the integrity of the electoral process in Latin America and around the world.

We are alarmed by the electoral authorities’ refusal to register “Fuerza Compromiso Social,” the political party associated with PI Council Member and former President of the Republic Rafael Correa, in the coming presidential elections: a flagrant violation of constitutional and institutional regulations that should guarantee the execution of a free and fair electoral process.

This illegal maneuver by the electoral authorities of Ecuador is not an isolated event. Rather, it is an alarming advancement of a strategy of political persecution against the progressive forces of Ecuador — and the acceleration of legal warfare (‘lawfare’) against political opposition in the region of Latin America, more broadly.

In Brazil, Bolivia, and now Ecuador, political parties and elected governments have faced arbitrary, discriminatory juridical attacks resulting in disenfranchisement of major political parties and movements with broad social support. Pope Francis himself warned about “the improper and arbitrary use of preventive detention”, one of the manifestations of lawfare, which is applied selectively and tendentiously from the legal spheres, seriously violating human, civil and procedural rights. If the international community does not stand up to defend democratic institutions and the right to free and fair elections in Ecuador, then the proponents of lawfare will only become more brazen, exporting these tactics far beyond Latin America.

Lawfare against the political opposition in Ecuador has been escalating for several years. The incarceration of former Vice President Jorge Glas, almost three years ago; the injunctive measures imposed against Paola Pabón, Virgilio Hernández and other political leaders, who were first taken into custody and are currently awaiting trial in house arrest; all of the members of the Assembly and former senior members who have been forced to seek political asylum in Mexico; as well as the judicial process against Rafael Correa himself, who just this week was denied an appeal, confirming for a second time the sentence that will deny him from holding any public office — all these instances present a sufficiently serious context to understand that this decision by the National Electoral Council is one more step in a coordinated strategy of ‘lawfare’ in Ecuador. Fuerza Compromiso Social is the sixth political party that has seen its registration blocked without any more justification than political persecution.

The conduct of the responsible Ecuadorian authorities is unacceptable and illegal in the international framework for the protection of human rights and should be declared invalid immediately.

Failure to reverse this decision would result in illegitimate elections, in which Ecuadorian citizens would be arbitrarily constrained, by the Executive Branch, in their fundamental right to self-determination. To guarantee clean elections, in which different political opinions can coexist and compete under equal conditions, is the duty of all public authorities of the Ecuadorian state. And it is the duty of your institutions to marshal the international community in support of their democratic process.

As members of the Progressive International, we urge:

  1. That you activate safeguard mechanisms to immediately restore the violated political and civil rights.
  2. That the bodies to which we send this letter activate independent mechanisms to observe the legitimacy and impartiality of the pre-electoral and electoral process in the Republic of Ecuador.
  3. That the responsible bodies declare urgent precautionary measures for persons whose rights have been violated, in order to avoid irreparable harm to these persons.

From the Progressive International, we await your response to this request and reiterate our commitment to democracy and human rights, which we will monitor from all jurisdictions, spaces, organizations and movements where we are present.


Elizabeth Gómez Alcorta
Minister of Women, Genders and Diversity of Argentina

Celso Amorim
Former Foreign Minister of Brazil

Renata Ávila
International Human Rights Lawyer

Alicia Castro
Former Ambassador of Argentina and Trade Union leader

Noam Chomsky
Laureate Professor of Linguistics, University of Arizona

Nikhil Dey
Founder-Member of Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sangathan (MKSS)

Jean Drèze
Visiting Professor, Ranchi University in India

Nick Estes
Assistant Professor in the American Studies Department at the University of New Mexico

Álvaro García Linera
Former Vice President of Bolivia

Srećko Horvat
Co-Founder, DiEM25

Giorgio Jackson
Member of the Chamber of Deputies of Chile

Harsh Mander
Human Rights Activist

John McDonnell
Member of Parliament for Hayes and Harlington

Edgar Mojica
People's Congress

Vijay Prashad
Director of the Tricontinental: Institute for Social Research

Aruna Roy
Founder-Member of Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sangathan (MKSS)

Ece Temelkuran
Novelist and critic

Yanis Varoufakis
Member of the Hellenic Parliament and the Secretary-General of MeRA25

Photo: Giovani Martínez/Twitter

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