The Ecuadorean Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities (Conaie) presented Tuesday to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) a request for several precautionary measures against the Ecuadorean state for affecting the rights to life, health, and harm to Indigenous peoples.
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Given the crisis that the country is going through due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Conaie has denounced that both the Ecuadorean government, as well as the Ministry of Economy and Finance, have acted with some negligence regarding the country's health system, but they also hide information about how the state finances it.
According to Conaie, in mid-Dec. 2019, the impact of the COVID-19 was already known from the warnings given by the World Health Organization (WHO). However, the Ecuadorean authorities omitted their responsibility as a state, minimizing the impact and, above all, assigned valuable resources to others issues as the loans, of which the IMF and World Bank indicated that they should not be paid.
These deliberate omissions have led to deaths, especially in the city of Guayaquil, where the deceased do not even have a dignified burial place, only those who can, which shows rampant social inequality, the group pointed out.
If this situation is catastrophic in urban sectors, in Indigenous territories and jurisdictions, they warned that a lack of water, hospitals and also a high rate of malnutrition make the communities even more vulnerable.
In this scenario, it is seen that the payment of the external debt was privileged over the budgets of Health, Education, and Justice, as evidenced in the month of March 2020, when about US$325 million dollars were paid to the holders of the country's 2020 Global Bonds, leaving aside the urgency of those resources to satisfy hospital needs, medical supplies, among others.
Under the pretext of "austerity and optimization", the government also in 2018 and 2019 annulled occasional contracts and provisional appointments of doctors, especially family or first-level care, when the logic should be to strengthen this sector.
The Indigenous organization also said that it is almost a state secret to know how the government economically manages the health system. It is not clear how permanent income (taxes) and non-permanent income (natural resources) are regulated when it is assumed that the values destined for the health sector are constitutionally guaranteed and are equivalent to 40 percent of the total budget value.
For those reasons, Conaie asked for the intervention of the Washington-based body to clarify the irregularities carried out by the current government, which have become more evident in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic crisis.