Ruling Hailed as Temporary Protection for the Right to Protest and Resist Injustice

Contact: Sophie Pinchetti, sophie@amazonfrontlines.org, Whatsapp: +593 98 148 4873

Quito, Ecuador, 25 June 2020 —  On June 24, the Constitutional Court of Ecuador admitted an action of unconstitutionality brought by the national Alliance of Human Rights, effectively suspending an act by the Ministry of Defense— Ministerial Agreement No. 179 containing Regulations for the Progressive, Rational and Differential Use of Force by Members of the Armed Forces—  issued in May and intended to increase the allowable use of force against civilians.

The Ministerial Agreement would have opened the door for the military to use indiscriminate force and firearms to respond to meetings, protests and demonstrations, posing grave danger to Ecuadorians’ civil liberties and the right to protest, organize, and resist injustice.  The decision to suspend the Agreement will remain in effect until the Court adopts a decision on the merits of the action of unconstitutionality brought by human rights organizations such as Cedhu, Surkuna and Amazon Frontlines.

In response, Amazon Frontlines’ attorney Lina Maria Espinosa released the following statement:

“Today marks an important milestone in the fight against repressive politics in Ecuador and will help ensure that more than 17 million people retain their right to protest, demonstrate and resist injustice without fear of lethal retaliation from their own government. As we learned in October 2019, when thousands of indigenous protesters, journalists and other demonstrators were met with excessive force and beatings by Ecuadorian security forces, resulting in the death of 11 people, the treatment of civilians as enemy combatants results in dire consequences for human rights in this country, as it does across the globe. Amazon Frontlines and our allies will continue to fight for a permanent ruling on the unconstitutionality of the Defense Ministry’s unlawful power grab in order to ensure that Ecuadorian lives and liberties are protected.”

About Amazon Frontlines:
Amazon Frontlines is a human rights organization with headquarters in Lago Agrio, Ecuador that helps indigenous peoples work together to leverage technology, laws, media, clean energy, the global economy, and their forest knowledge to protect their way of life, their lands, and our climate. For more information, visit www.amazonfrontlines.org.

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