Ecuador Seeks to Shut Environmental NGO

Washington

In response to the Ecuadorian government’s efforts to dissolve Acción Ecológica, a leading environmental NGO, for opposing a mining project affecting indigenous populations, Freedom House issued the following statement:

“The Correa administration’s attack against Acción Ecológica is part of a systematic effort to silence civil society organizations supporting the rights of marginalized groups,” said Carlos Ponce, director of Latin America Programs. “Ecuador’s government should immediately cease efforts to close Acción Ecológica and instead follow the lead of civil society organizations advocating for fundamental freedoms.”

Background:

Ecuador’s interior ministry announced its intention to dissolve Acción Ecológica in December, and took legal action to do so earlier this month, after the organization used social media to criticize a Chinese copper mining project in indigenous territories. Acción Ecológica has called for a truth commission to investigate police violence against anti-mine protests by the Shuar indigenous people. The ministry asserts that the organization violated a decree granting the government broad grounds for dissolving civil society organizations.

Ecuador is rated Partly Free in Freedom in the World 2016, Not Free in Freedom of the Press 2016, and Partly Free in  Freedom on the Net 2016.

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