Ecuador should revoke a presidential decree that grants far-reaching powers to the government to oversee and dissolve nongovernmental organizations, Human Rights Watch said today.
On June 4, 2013, President Rafael Correa adopted a decree that creates new procedures for Ecuadorean nongovernmental organizations to obtain legal status and requires international organizations to undergo a screening process to seek permission to work in Ecuador. The decree also grants the government broad powers to intervene in groups’ operations. It gives the government authority, for example, to dissolve Ecuadorean groups for “compromis[ing] public peace.”
“The Correa administration has damaged free speech, expending a lot of its energy focusing on the media, and now it’s trying to trample on independent groups,” said José Miguel Vivanco, Americas director at Human Rights Watch. “Officials can now essentially decide what groups may say or do, seriously undermining their role as a check on the government.”