The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) is closely following the situation in Ecuador following the exercise of President Guillermo Lasso’s constitutional capacities to dissolve the National Assembly and advance general elections.
On May 17, the president issued Executive Decree 741, dissolving the current composition of the National Assembly, and notifying the National Electoral Council (CNE) to call early extraordinary elections. This decision was made by invoking Article 148 of the Constitution, which includes the provision known as the “cross death.” The president adopted this action by citing a “serious political crisis and internal social upheaval” in the country. It is important to note that this action took place in the context of a political trial by the National Assembly against the President for alleged acts of corruption.
The independence of powers and respect for the democratic constitutional order are crucial for ensuring the complete enjoyment and exercise of human rights for all individuals. These principles play a fundamental role in safeguarding due process, equality before the law, citizen participation, and social accountability. These elements are indispensable in a democratic and just society.
Therefore, the Commission calls upon the authorities in Ecuador to keep respecting the democratic constitutional order, promote and strengthen the independence and separation of state powers, and ensure their full functioning. In this regard, it is worth acknowledging the decision of the Constitutional Court of Ecuador, dated May 18, in which it dismissed the claims of unconstitutionality against the Executive Decree 741. As stated in its public statement, the Court emphasizes that “it lacks the authority to determine the validity or reasons behind the arguments of serious political crisis and internal commotion invoked by the President to support the application of Article 148 of the Constitution; and the same holds true for any other judicial authority in the country”.
Furthermore, the IACHR emphasizes the significance of all parties engaged in the political dialogue within the State, as well as the society as a whole, committing to the maintenance of social peace and democracy at all times. Specifically, it urges the authorities to keep ensuring the protection of human rights for all individuals, including the rights to freedom of expression, association, peaceful assembly, and citizen participation. These rights serve as fundamental pillars of a democratic society. Additionally, it urges that the early electoral process be carried out with according to Inter-American standards.
The Commission will remain observing the situation in Ecuador and reaffirms its commitment to closely monitor ongoing developments. The aim of this monitoring is to promote respect for and protection of human rights in the country.
The IACHR is a principal and autonomous organ of the Organization of American States (OAS), whose mandate derives from the OAS Charter and the American Convention on Human Rights. The Inter-American Commission is mandated to promote the observance of human rights in the region and to act as an advisory body to the OAS on the matter. The IACHR is composed of seven independent members who are elected by the OAS General Assembly in their personal capacity and do not represent their countries of origin or residence.
*Commissioner Stuardo Ralon Orellana cast a reasoned vote on this press release, which is available at the Executive Secretariat of the IACHR.