Target: President Rafael Correa
Goal: Revoke presidential decree that dissolves non-government organizations
On June 4, 2013, the Ecuadoran president adopted a decree that requires nongovernmental organizations to complete several procedures before they can attain legal status. International organizations must also undergo a screening process before being given permission to work in the country. While not the most unsettling prospect of this decree, this law also gives the government board power to get involved with the group’s program, and can even dissolve a group if it is “compromising the peace of the people.”
This is a highly controversial piece of legislation as this means that the government can pick and choose which organizations it wants operating, and can tell them what to do. Unfortunately the Correa administration has stomped on the country’s freedom of speech, and is turning its attention to organizations. Because this decree also focuses on international groups, Ecuador can turn away groups focused on human rights or other just causes. All organizations have one year to complete the documents required by the government or they will be shut down. Once the groups are approved, they are responsible for reporting who they select as directors and legal representatives, and if they hire on more employees. They are also required to report on projects that have international funding and must get approved by the government if they are revising their policies. This decree targets the freedom to assembly, and prevents the organization from freely choosing who it wishes to employ.
The Ecuadoran government is allowed to heavily monitor these groups, which violates their rights to privacy. Groups must be doing work that is authorized by the government and if they do anything that compromises the peace of the people, they are dissolved. All groups must have documentation that they are legally able to operate. International groups have stricter procedures and a lot more red tape to deal with. They must ensure that they are legally able to operate and must prove that they are serious about their goal and organization. Only then will the Ecuadorean government give it authorization to work in the country.
It is obvious that this legislation undermines various human rights: freedom of speech, the right to assembly and privacy. Activists around the world are urging the president to revoke this decree as it reeks of corruption. The government should never have that much control on organizations that have nothing to do with the country. Sign this petition and urge for this decree’s immediate repeal.
Dear President Rafael Correa,
It has come to my attention that a decree recently passed by your administration undermines several human rights. These rights are the freedom to speech, the right to assembly and privacy. This decree requires all nongovernment organizations to complete several procedures before they are given legal status and permission to operate in the country. However, the means and rights that these organizations give up to gain legal status is highly controversial. These organizations are allowing their government to dictate how they operate and if abused, the Ecuadoran government can dissolve an organization if they are hurting the public peace. I fear that this wording is far too vague. What is considered the public peace? If a group conducts a rally or a peaceful protest, would that be enough cause to dissolve the group?
I am asking that you revoke this decree because it far too damaging for the people. You wish to know who these organizations will hire as directors and legal representatives, and know when these groups will hire or lose employees. And while these groups oblige, there is also a chance that the government can swoop in and demand that these employees be fired, or worse, dissolve the group because they have hired someone that they deem a danger to the nation. Again, I implore you to revoke this legislation; it does nothing to aid your nation.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Agencia Brasil via Wikimedia Commons