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  • Indigenous people protest in front of a police barrier in Quito, Ecuador, Oct. 2019.

    Indigenous people protest in front of a police barrier in Quito, Ecuador, Oct. 2019. | Photo: Twitter/ @reinaldo8501011

Published 19 November 2020
Opinion

Police forces caused serious and irreversible damage to the civilian population during the popular unrest that broke out in the country in October 2019, report says.

Ecuadorean Ombudsman's Office Commission for Truth and Justice is set to deliver a report on human rights violations committed against demonstrators that took to the streets in October last year to reject President Lenin Moreno's decision to cut fuel subsidies.

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According to a draft that the Ecuadorian press had access to, the report finds that Ecuadorian authorities "gravely violated the rights to life, physical, and psychological integrity, personal liberty, and the right to free expression, among other rights."

The report argues that "what happened in October 2019 cannot be seen as isolated abuses or excesses by the public forces, since the human rights to life and personal integrity have been violated."

It adds that the Truth Commission was able to observe that police forces "acted by reiterating violent conducts between October 3rd and 16th and caused serious and in some cases irreversible damage to the civilian population."

The Truth Commission received 519 testimonies, of which 249 revealed human rights violations. Of these, 188 were from members of the National Police and 34 from the Armed Forces. It was informed that 26 public officials, including those from the Attorney General's Office, "did not act within the framework of their competencies".

The report also registered 123 cases related to violations of the right to personal integrity, 38 to the right to personal liberty, 6 extrajudicial executions, 22 attacks on the right to life, 3 sexual assaults, and 20 eye injuries.

Popular unrest broke out in Ecuador on October 4 last year in response to President Moreno's agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) that involved a 123 percent increase in the price of fuel.

Demonstrations led by the Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador (Conaie) blocked several avenues in the capital Quito and stormed Government buildings in the province of Bolivar while calling for a general strike.

Meanwhile, It has not yet been announced when the final report by the Truth Commission will be released.

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