Insecurity in Ecuador: shifting towards violence and massive violations of human rights


Until 2017, the Republic of Ecuador was among the safest countries in Latin America. However, data from January 2024 reveals a sad reality: the country has become the most violent in the region.

During the 55th session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva, the CETIM denounced the neoliberal policies of the Ecuadorian government which aim to dismantle public policies and severely attack the rights of the most vulnerable. In fact, since 2017, the Ecuadorian people have experienced an accelerated erosion of their cultural, social and economic rights.

The abolition of public policies and drastic budget cuts in the social sphere, as well as the dismantling of state structures in the security sphere, have resulted in a dramatic increase in poverty and unemployment, drawing more young people in disadvantaged areas into the web of criminal networks and at the same time, encouraging an increase in organised crime.

The insecurity that is taking hold in Ecuador today, stems from a series of complementary and complex factors. Although organised crime plays an undeniable role, domestic shortcomings also play just as decisive a role. Between 2017 and 2024, the country underwent a rapid shift towards a radical neoliberal model, characterised by rampant privatisation, economic deregulation, and the degradation of public services. This neoliberal drift goes hand in hand with endemic corruption, the criminal groups’ stranglehold on prison management and legislation that encourages laundering of dirty money. A recent study pointed the finger at the Ecuadorian financial system, which is presumed to be complicit with laundering 3.5 billion dollars’ worth of illegal assets. At the same time, investment protection agreements paved the way for unfettered exploitation by the oil and mining industry giants, to the detriment of the local populations.

Facing this crisis that is taking root, Ecuador finds itself at a crucial turning point: a firm and targeted governmental reaction is required in order to
re-establish security and protect the fundamental rights of citizens, in line with international commitments. The Ecuadorian government must, as a priority, abandon the ‘services’ of criminal groups, stop dismantling state prerogatives and put an end to the privatisation of public services, while also regulating the activities of transnational companies.

In this respect, the CETIM has called on the Human Rights Council to activate all pertinent bodies and mechanisms to closely monitor the situation in Ecuador in order to protect the human rights of its population.

Read CETIM’s declaration in Spanish

See the video of the declaration with English subtitles 

Categories Articles Ecuador HUMAN RIGHTS Newsletter
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