An independent United Nations human rights expert today urged the Government of Ecuador to guarantee the right to freedom of expression and freedom of press in the wake of the recent violence that erupted in the capital, Quito.
“In moments of political turmoil, the possibility to receive clear and accurate information is essential,” said the UN Special Rapporteur on the right to freedom of opinion and expression, Frank La Rue.
On 30 September, a section of the police force violently attacked President Rafael Correa, who was prevented to leave the hospital, in violation of his fundamental rights, according to a news release issued in Geneva.
The protests were reportedly related to Government measures that will cut some benefits for public servants such as police officers.
Mr. La Rue noted that in the incident “a great part of the police force was mobilized by interested sectors, based on alleged misinformation regarding the new proposed regulations regarding labour conditions.”
He called on the Ecuadorian media “to maintain the highest standards of professionalism and ethics,” and reiterated the importance of the principles of diversity and plurality to inform the public in an objective manner.
“These acts,” noted the Special Rapporteur, “reveal the fragility of some Latin American democracies, as this event took place a little more than a year since the military coup d’état which overthrew the Government in Honduras.”
Mr. La Rue reports to the Geneva-based UN Human Rights Council in an independent and unpaid capacity, as do all Special Rapporteurs.
In a statement issued last week, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon had voiced deep concern at the developments in Ecuador, while expressing his “strong support for the country’s democratic institutions and elected government.”