1. The Committee considered the fourth periodic report of Ecuador (CCPR/C/84/Add.6)
at its 1673rd and 1674th meetings on 14 July 1998 (CCPR/C/SR.1673 and SR.1674)
and adopted the following concluding observations at its 1692nd meeting
on 27 July 1998 (CCPR/C/SR.1692).
2. The Committee welcomes the fourth periodic report as well as the addendum
to the report, updating information submitted by the State party. The Committee
appreciates the presence of a high level delegation and the frank exchange
with the Committee, enabling it to obtain a clearer view of the present
human rights situation in Ecuador.
3. The Committee, while appreciating the addendum to the report provided
by the State party, regrets that it did not receive a core document, which
would have helped the Committee to better understand the problems existing
in Ecuador. The Committee also regrets the overall lack of reliable statistics.
4. The Committee takes note of the promulgation of the new Constitution
in May 1997, which will enter into force in August 1998, and welcomes the
expanded list of provisions for the protection of human rights.
5. The Committee welcomes the adoption of legislation which establishes
measures for the compensation of victims of human rights violations. It
also expresses its satisfaction with the information that the next-of-kin
of two particularly serious cases of human rights violations have been compensated
by the State party.
6. The Committee welcomes the National Human Rights Plan, as well as the
establishment of the Consejo Nacional de la Magistratura. It also
notes the decision to appoint a new Ombudsman and welcomes the creation
of the remedies of amparo and habeas data, as well as the expansion
of the remedy of habeas corpus.
7. The Committee welcomes the information that article 23 of the Constitution
prohibits the enacting of amnesty legislation or granting pardons for human
rights violations; that torture, enforced disappearances and extrajudicial
executions have no statute of limitation; and that obedience to superior
orders cannot be invoked as an extenuating circumstance. It also welcomes
the information that the jurisdiction of the military tribunals has been
limited to members of the armed forces in the exercise of their official
functions; that these tribunals have no jurisdiction over civilians; and
that cases of human rights violations by members of the army and the security
forces fall under the jurisdiction of civilian courts.
8. The Committee welcomes the information that the Constitutional Court
has declared unconstitutional the criminalization of private homosexual
relations between consenting adults and the law excluding persons charged
under the Narcotics and Psychotropic Substances Act from the application
of the new provisions on detention pending trial.
9. The Committee welcomes the information that a series of educational programmes
have been devised in collaboration with international institutions, to enable
all segments of the population, in particular members of the army, security
forces and the police, and members of the judiciary and lawyers, to be better
acquainted with international standards for the protection and observance
of human rights and human dignity.
subjects of concern, suggestions and recommendations
10. The Committee is concerned at the many instances of violence against
women and the very few judicial decisions thereon. The Committee stresses
that all reported acts of violence against women should be investigated
and appropriate judicial proceedings instituted.
11. The Committee expresses its concern about the very high number of suicides
of young females referred to in the report, which appear in part to be related
to the prohibition of abortion. In this regard, the Committee regrets the
State party's failure to address the resulting problems faced by adolescent
girls, in particular rape victims, who suffer the consequences of such acts
for the rest of their lives. Such situations are, from both the legal and
practical standpoints, incompatible with articles 3, 6 and 7 of the Covenant,
and with article 24 when female minors are involved. The Committee recommends
that the State party adopt all necessary legislative and other measures
to assist women, and particularly adolescent girls, faced with the problem
of unwanted pregnancies to obtain access to adequate health and education
12. Notwithstanding the postive information provided in respect of the measures
taken to amend criminal proceedings, to establish oral hearings and to introduce
alternative ways of dealing with civil matters, the Committee continues
to be concerned about the unreasonably long judicial delays.
The Committee encourages the State party to expedite the process in view
of the severe backlog in the courts.
13. The Committee is particularly concerned that accused persons may be
held in detention pending trial for a maximum duration of a third of the
possible sentence facing them, irrespective of the risk that they may fail
to appear for trial and that the State party's own statistics indicate that
close to 70 per cent of the prison population is awaiting trial. This situation
is incompatible with the presumption of innocence and the right to be tried
within a reasonable time or to be released on bail as provided for in articles
9 and 14 of the Covenant.
The Committee recommends that bail legislation be brought into conformity
with the provisions of the Covenant and that resort to preventive detention
be the exception and not the rule.
14. The Committee expresses concern about the long delays in judicial proceedings
which are incompatible with the requirements of articles 9 and 14 of the
Covenant. It is also concerned at the severe shortage of public defenders
for the poor in Quito and Guayaquil and their total unavailability in many
parts of the country. This situation is particularly grave since Ecuadorian
law requires mandatory legal assistance in court proceedings.
The Committee recommends that the State party address the question of the
long judicial delays, and in particular that it comply with the provisions
of the Code of Criminal Procedure, which stipulates that the initial trial
should be completed within 60 days. The Committee encourages the State party
to increase the number of public defenders and to extend their presence
throughout the whole of its territory.
15. The Committee expresses its concern that the provisions of Law No. 10282
on the state of emergency and those contained in article 103 (6) (h) of
the Constitution, enumerating the constitutional articles which may be derogated
from during a state of emergency are not in conformity with the Covenant.
The Committee regrets not having received sufficient information on which
articles may be derogated from during a state of emergency and whether they
are in conformity with the Covenant.
16. The Committee is concerned that, despite the Plan for Equal Opportunity
1996-2000 and the constitutional guarantees of the rights of women and laws
designed to end discrimination, women continue to receive unequal treatment
in Ecuador owing in part to the continuation of traditional attitudes and
obsolete laws. This situation and the aforementioned laws give rise to problems
under articles 3, 23, 24 and 26 of the Covenant.
The Committee recommends that the State party fully implement the Plan for
Equal Opportunity. It also recommends that the State party abrogate those
provisions of the Code of Criminal Procedure which prevent a prostitute
from being considered as a suitable witness in trials. The Committee requests
the State party to inform it of the measures adopted and of the results
achieved under the Plan for Equal Opportunity in its next periodic report.
17. The Committee is also concerned that, despite the legal requirement
of judicial authorization for the employment of children under 14 years
of age, there continues to be exploitation of children in employment.
The Committee recommends that the Comité Nacional para la Eradicación Progresiva
del Trabajo Infantil be provided with the necessary means to carry out its
mandate to eliminate the practice of child labour.
18. The Committee is concerned that the births of children born in Ecuador
to undocumented refugees are frequently not registered due to the parents'
fear of deportation. This situation prevents the children from claiming
Ecuadorian nationality, to which any child born in Ecuador is entitled under
The Committee recommends that the State party adopt measures guaranteeing
to all children of undocumented refugees born in Ecuador the right to a
19. The Committee expresses concern at the impact of oil extraction on the
enjoyment by members of indigenous groups of their rights under article
27 of the Covenant. In this connection, the Committee is concerned that,
despite the legislation enacted to allow indigenous communities to enjoy
the full use of their traditional lands in a communal way, there remain
obstacles to the full enjoyment of the rights protected under article 27
of the Covenant.
The Committee recommends that further measures be taken to ensure that members
of indigenous groups be protected against the adverse effects of the oil
exploitation within the country and be enabled to enjoy fully their rights
under article 27 of the Covenant, particularly with regard to preservation
of their cultural identity and traditional livelihood.
20. The Committee appreciates the assurances provided by the State party
that the views of the Committee expressed in communications Nos. 480/1991
and 481/1991 are being dealt with. However, the Committee has not been informed
of the actual implementation of the views and the redress that the victims
may have obtained. The Committee awaits the receipt of the relevant information.
21. The Committee urges that respect for human rights be institutionalized
at all levels of government, and recommends that human rights education
be provided in schools at all levels and that the present concluding observations
be widely disseminated.
22. The Committee recommends that the State party give the widest dissemination
to the present concluding observations, in particular by bringing them to
the attention of officials responsible for the administration of justice,
non-governmental organizations and the media.
23. The Committee draws the attention of the Government of Ecuador to the
provisions of paragraph 6 (a) of the Guidelines Regarding the Form and Contents
of Periodic Reports from States Parties, and requests that its next periodic
report, due in June 2001, should include material which addresses all the
present concluding observations.