The Human Truth Foundation

Human Rights and Freedom in Ecuador

By Vexen Crabtree 2018

#ecuador #equality #freedom #human_rights #politics #tolerance

Ecuador
Republic of Ecuador

[Country Profile Page]
StatusIndependent State
Social and Moral Index68th best
CapitalQuito
Land Area 248 360km21
LocationSouth America, The Americas
Population17.1m2
Life Expectancy76.12yrs (2017)3
GNI$10 536 (2017)4
ISO3166-1 CodesEC, ECU, 2185
Internet Domain.ec6
CurrencyDollar (USD)7
Telephone+5938

Ecuador does relatively well in ensuring human rights and freedom, compared to many other countries. Ecuador performs the best in speed of uptake of HR treaties9. It does the second-best in terms of its nominal commitment to Human Rights10. It does better than average in LGBT equality11 and in commentary in Human Rights Watch reports12 (but one of the lowest in The Americas). Ecuador does not succeed in everything, however. It does worse than average when it comes to opposing gender inequality13 (there are 'far-reaching restrictions on womens' and girls' access to reproductive health care'16), supporting personal, civil & economic freedoms14 and in supporting press freedom15. Now Rafael Correa has been replaced as President (in 2017), things are looking to get better, as new President Lenin Moreno "has publicly embraced respect for free speech and promised to deliver a more tolerant government"16.


1. Ecuador's Human Rights, Equality & Tolerance

#equality #human_rights #morals #politics #prejudice #tolerance

Human Rights, Equality & Tolerance (2020)17,18
Pos.Lower is better
Avg Rank17,18
1Denmark9.7
2Sweden10.0
3Norway16.1
...
55Jamaica64.6
56Greece64.8
57Albania65.0
58Ecuador65.4
59Georgia65.5
60Mongolia65.8
61Paraguay66.7
62Colombia68.9
63Armenia70.5
World Avg89.8
q=199.

The best countries in the world at ensuring human rights, fostering equality and promoting tolerance, are Denmark, Sweden and Norway17. These countries are displaying the best traits that humanity has to offer. The worst countries are Tuvalu, The Solomon Islands and Palestine17.

The data sets used to calculate points for each country are statistics on commentary in Human Rights Watch reports, its nominal commitment to Human Rights, speed of uptake of HR treaties, supporting personal, civil & economic freedoms, supporting press freedom, eliminating modern slavery, opposing gender inequality, the year from which women could participate in democracy, its success in fighting anti-semitic prejudice and LGBT equality. The regions with the best average results per country are Scandinavia, Baltic States and Europe17, whereas the worst are Micronesia, Melanesia and Australasia17.

2. Human Rights & Tolerance Data Sets

Ecuador's laws give the government far too much power in restricting free speech, although as of 2017, the new President Lenin Moreno "has publicly embraced respect for free speech"16

2.1. Human Rights Watch Comments

#human_rights

Human Rights Watch Comments (2017)12
Pos.Higher is better
Score12
1UK9
2France9
3Germany9
...
63India-3
64Qatar-3
65Tanzania-3
66Ecuador-3
67Colombia-3
68Bolivia-3
69Kenya-4
70Philippines-4
World Avg-1.9
q=123.

Human Rights Watch comments concentrate mostly on negative issues, however, they also make positive comments for those countries that engage in human rights defence around the world, or who make improvements at home. By adding up positive and negative comments (including double-points for negatives that involve large scales and crimes against humanity), the Social and Moral Index turns HRW commentary into quantified values. Some countries may be unfairly penalized because HRW have not examined them, and, some countries "get away" with abuses if they manage to hide it, or if it goes unnoticed - a negative point has been given for those countries in which HRW specifically state that access to investigators has been barred. The points were limited to a minimum of -10 because there are some points at which things are so bad, with abuses affecting so many, it is difficult to be more specific about the depths of the issues.

2.2. Nominal Commitment to HR

#human_rights

Nominal Commitment to HR (2009)10
Pos.Higher is better
Treaties10
1Argentina24
2Chile23
3Costa Rica23
4Ecuador23
5Germany23
6Mexico23
7Peru23
8Spain23
9Slovenia23
10Paraguay23
11Serbia23
12Sweden23
World Avg15.1
q=194.

There are many international agreements on human rights, and, many mechanisms by which countries can be brought to account for their actions. Together, these have been the biggest historical movement in the fight against oppression and inhumanity. Or, putting it another way: these are rejected mostly by those who wish to oppress inhumanely. None of them are perfect and many people object to various components and wordings, but, no-one has come up with, and enforced, better methods of controlling the occasional desires that states and peoples have of causing angst for other states and peoples in a violent, unjust or inhumane way. Points are awarded for the number of human rights agreements ratified by the country, plus the acceptance of the petition mechanisms for disputes. The maximum possible score in 2009 was 24.

2.3. HR Treaties Lag

#human_rights #international_law #micronesia #politics #small_islands

HR Treaties Lag (2019)9
Pos.Lower is better
Avg Yrs/Treaty9
1Ecuador2.15
2Uruguay2.25
3Tunisia3.65
4Colombia3.68
5Costa Rica4.05
6Mexico4.08
7Chile4.12
8Philippines4.19
9Bulgaria4.24
10Panama4.26
11Senegal4.32
12Namibia4.36
World Avg10.02
q=195.

Human Rights (HR) Treaties Lag is a count of how long it took each country to sign each of 11 key HR treaties. From the date of the first signatory of each treaty, all other countries have one point added to their score for each day they delayed in signing. Results are presented as average time in years to sign each one. The lower a country's score, the more enthusiastically it has taken on international Human Rights Treaties - which are, of course, minimal standards of good governance. The slowest are the countries of Micronesia, Melanesia, Australasia and Polynesia all lagged by over 12 years per treaty. The best regions are The Americas, Scandinavia and the Mediterranean.

2.4. Personal, Civil & Economic Freedom

#freedom #politics

Personal, Civil & Economic Freedom (2014)14
Pos.Lower is better
Rank14
1Hong Kong1
2Switzerland2
3New Zealand3
...
94Liberia94
95Lesotho94
96Kazakhstan96
97Ecuador97
98Kyrgyzstan98
99Tanzania99
100Uganda100
101Philippines101
World Avg79.7
q=159.

The Human Freedom Index published by the Fraser Institute is...

... a broad measure of human freedom, understood as the absence of coercive constraint. It uses 79 distinct indicators of personal and economic freedom in the following areas: Rule of Law, Security and Safety, Movement, Religion, Association, Assembly, and Civil Society, Expression, Relationships, Size of Government, Legal System and Property Rights, Access to Sound Money, Freedom to Trade Internationally, Regulation of Credit, Labor, and Business. [...]

The highest levels of freedom are in Western Europe, Northern Europe, and North America (Canada and the United States. The lowest levels are in the Middle East and North Africa, South Asia, and sub-Saharan Africa. [...]

Countries in the top quartile of freedom enjoy a significant higher per capita income ($37,147) [compared with] the least-free quartile [at] $8,700). The HFI finds a strong correlation between human freedom and democracy.

"The Human Freedom Index" by The Fraser Institute (2016)19

2.5. Press Freedom

#democracy #freedom #mass_media #politics #UK

Press Freedom (2013)15
Pos.Lower is better15
1Finland638
2Netherlands648
3Norway652
...
115Macedonia3427
116Venezuela3444
117Nepal3461
118Ecuador3469
119Cameroon3478
120Chad3487
121Brunei3545
122Tajikistan3571
World Avg3249
q=178.

The freedom to investigate, publish information, and have access to others' opinion is a fundamental part of today's information-driven world. Scores on the Press Freedom Index are calculated according to indicators including pluralism - the degree to which opinions are represented in the media, media independence of authorities, self-censorship, legislation, transparency and the infrastructure that supports news and information, and, the level of violence against journalists which includes lengths of imprisonments. The index "does not take direct account of the kind of political system but it is clear that democracies provide better protection for the freedom to produce and circulate accurate news and information than countries where human rights are flouted".

It must be noted that press freedom is not an indicator of press quality and the press itself can be abusive; the UK suffers in particular from a popular brand of nasty reporting that infuses several of its newspapers who are particularly prone to running destructive and often untrue campaigns against victims. The Press Freedom Index notes that "the index should in no way be taken as an indicator of the quality of the media in the countries concerned".

2.6. Slavery

#burundi #eritrea #france #human_rights #indonesia #slavery

Slavery (2018)20
Pos.Lower is better
% Victims20
1Japan0.03
2Canada0.05
3Taiwan0.05
...
42Slovenia0.22
43Suriname0.23
44Spain0.23
45Ecuador0.24
46Italy0.24
47Morocco0.24
48El Salvador0.25
49Portugal0.25
World Avg0.65
q=167.

The taking of slaves has been an unwholesome feature of Human cultures since prehistory21. Private households and national endeavours have frequently been augmented with the use of slaves. The Egyptian and Roman empires both thrived on them for both purposes. Aside from labourers they are often abused sexually by their owners and their owners' friends22. The era of colonialism and the beginnings of globalisation changed nothing: the imprisonment and forced movements of labour continued to destroy many lives except that new justifications were invented based on Christian doctrine and the effort to convert non-Christians. By 1786 over 12 million slaves had been extracted from Africa and sent to colonial labour camps, with a truly atrocious condition of life23. But they were not the only ones to blame; in Africa internal nations such as the Asantes sold and bought tens of thousands of slaves24.

The abolition of the slave trade was a long and slow process. Until a relatively modern time, even philosophers, religious leaders and those concerned with ethics justified, or ignored, the problem of slavery25. The first abolitionists were always the slaves themselves. Their protests and rebellions caused the industry to become too expensive to continue. After that, it was the economic costs of maintain slave colonies that led the British to reject and then oppose the slave trade globally. Finally, the enlightenment-era thinkers of France encouraged moral and ethical thinking including the declaration of the inherent value of human life and human dignity26. A long-overdue wave of compassionate and conscientious movements swept across the West, eliminating public support for slavery, until the industries and churches that supported it had no choice but to back down.

'Modern slavery' includes forced labour (often of the under-age), debt bondage (especially generational), sexual slavery, chattel slavery and other forms of abuse, some of which can be surprisingly difficult to detect, but often target those fleeing from warzones and the vulnerable.27. Some industries (diamond, clothing, coal) from some countries (Burundi20, Eritrea20, Indonesia28) are a particular concern. The Walk Free Foundation, say that in 2016, 40.3 million people were living in modern slavery29.

3. Gender Equality Data Sets

Ecuador has made some steps towards ending gender inequality but much more needs to be done.

Access to official abortion doctors is far too limited.

Fear of being criminally prosecuted for having an abortion drives some women and girls to have illegal and unsafe abortions and impedes health care and services for victims of sexual violence. The Prosecutor´s Office reports that 184 women have been prosecuted since August 2014 for having a "voluntary abortion."

Government statistics released in 2010, the latest year for which data is available, indicate that one in four women and girls over 15 years old in Ecuador has been a victim of sexual violence.

"World Report 2018" by Human Rights Watch (2018)16

See:

3.1. Gender Inequality

#gender #gender_equality #human_rights #misogyny #women

Gender Inequality (2015)13
Pos.Lower is better13
1Switzerland0.04
2Denmark0.04
3Netherlands0.04
...
85El Salvador0.38
86Peru0.39
87Sri Lanka0.39
88Ecuador0.39
89Colombia0.39
90S. Africa0.39
91Kyrgyzstan0.39
92Brazil0.41
World Avg0.36
q=159.

The UN Human Development Reports include statistics on gender equality which take into account things like maternal mortality, access to political power (seats in parliament) and differences between male and female education rates. Gender inequality is not a necessary part of early human development. Although a separation of roles is almost universal due to different strengths between the genders, this does not have to mean that women are subdued, and, such patriarchialism is not universal in ancient history. Those cultures and peoples who shed, or never developed, the idea that mankind ought to dominate womankind, are better cultures and peoples than those who, even today, cling violently to those mores.

3.2. Year Women Can Vote

#christianity #gender_equality #human_rights #politics #women

Year Women Can Vote
Pos.Lower is better
Year
1New Zealand1893
2Australia1902
3Finland1906
...
150Botswana1965
151Tuvalu1967
152Kiribati1967
153Ecuador1967
154Swaziland1968
155Nauru1968
156Congo, (Brazzaville)1970
157Congo, DR1970
World Avg1930
q=189.

Women now have equal rights in the vast majority of countries across the world. Although academic literature oftens talks of when a country "grants women the right to vote", this enforces a backwards way of thinking. Women always had the right to vote, however, they were frequently denied that right. The opposition to women's ability to vote in equality with man was most consistently and powerfully opposed by the Catholic Church, other Christian organisations, Islamic authorities and some other religious and secular traditionalists.

4. Prejudice Data Sets

4.1. LGBT Equality

#equality #homosexuality #human_rights #intolerance #sexuality #tolerance

Artificial restrictions on personal and family life mean that same-sex couples cannot marry, although since 2008 a limited civil-unions law does provide a way for homosexual couples to get some legal protections16.

LGBT Equality (2017)11
Pos.Higher is better
Score11
1Netherlands103
2Belgium90
3Sweden86
...
22Finland57
23Austria56
24Ireland53
25Ecuador50
26Australia50
27Peru50
28Hungary49
29Israel48
World Avg12.6
q=196.

Discrimination against Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) folk is rife across the world. Legal restrictions co-exist alongside social stigmatisation and physical violence30. LGBT tolerance and equal rights have been fought for country-by-country across the world, often against tightly entrenched cultural and religious opposition. Adult consensual sexual activity is a Human Right, protected by privacy laws31. Despite this, homosexual activity is outlawed in around 80 countries30. The Social & Moral LGBT Equality Index was created to compare countries and regions, granting points to each country for a variety of factors including how long gay sex has been criminalized and the extent of LGBT legal rights. Graded negative points are given for criminality of homosexuality, unequal ages of consent, legal punishments and for not signing international accords on LGBT tolerance. The signs in many developed countries are positive, and things are gradually improving. Europe is by far the least prejudiced region (Scandinavia in particular being exemplary). The Middle East and then Africa are the least morally developed, where cultural bias goes hand-in-hand with state intolerance, all too often including physical violence.