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  • Demonstrators condemn U.S. impunity for torture policy

    Demonstrators condemn U.S. impunity for torture policy | Photo: AFP

The U.S. should instead "demonstrate a real commitment" to human rights by ending its assassination program and closing Guantanamo

On Friday the Ecuadorean government issued a comprehensive rejection of the recently released U.S. State Department's annual report on human rights, noting, among other things, the U.S. government's own failure to live up to multiple international human rights agreements.

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"Ecuador reiterates once again that this type of unilateral and biased report violates the principles of multilateralism and aims to unjustifiably tarnish the international image of our country, and to favor the political agendas of particular actors," said a statement issued by Ecuador's Ministry of Foreign Relations.

Ecuadorean Foreign Relations Minister Guillaume Long personally criticized the U.S. government on Twitter, pointing out some of their own dirty laundry.


The annual report, quietly released by a state department spokesperson Friday during a conference call, is intended to help shape U.S. foreign policy — including aid and security funding — claiming without any sense of irony that "promoting human rights and democratic governance is a core element of U.S. foreign policy."

However, the Ecuadorean government noted that despite this claim, the U.S. has yet to sign onto more than a half-dozen international human rights accords.

Ecuador calls on the U.S. to demonstrate a real commitment to international human rights law through adherence to the many treaties of which it is not yet a party, such as the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the Convention On the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families, the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities , and The American Convention on Human Rights, to cite just a few examples."

The massive U.S. State Department report covers more than 170 countries, including those where the U.S. is a major sponsor of human rights abuses, such as Israel, Honduras, and Saudi Arabia.

In the section on Ecuador, the report says "the main human rights abuses were a lack of independence in the judicial sector; restrictions on freedom of speech, press, assembly, and association; and corruption."

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However, throughout the report the State Department notes Ecuador is actively addressing each of the areas of criticism.

Regarding the justice system, the report found that "the government continued a process to reform the judiciary, which improved the judiciary's ability to remove corrupt or ineffective judges."

On freedom of speech and the press, it says that "individuals could discuss matters of general public interest publicly or privately without reprisal," and that "independent media remained active and expressed a wide variety of views, including those critical of the government."

And it devotes a lengthy section detailing Ecuador's attempts to prosecute those officials involved in the Petroecuador scandal.

Indeed in its own response, the government of Ecuador noted that U.S. policy is a key barrier to tackling corruption and reiterated its "urgent request to the Government of the United States to demonstrate its real commitment to cooperate with Ecuador to extradite fugitives from Ecuadorean justice linked to cases of corruption that currently reside in US territory, ending this flagrant situation of impunity."

That statement is likely a reference to former Oil Minister Carlos Pareja, who fled to the U.S. to escape corruption charges related to his tenure as head of Ecuador's state-owned oil company, Petroecuador.

Ecuador also called on the U.S. to "end the grave threat to human rights" posed by its crackdown on migrants; end the illegal detention and torture taking place at Guantanamo Bay; and end its drone assassination program.

One of the most notable double standards of the report — signed by Donald Trump's Secretary of State Rex Tillerson — is its criticism of Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa's alleged "verbal attacks against media and civil society."

In October the New York Times published two full pages of Donald Trump's 6,000 public attacks on individuals and media institutions.

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