The language of refugees: analyzing Ecuador’s Constitutional Court judgment No. 897-11-JP/20

People are forced to flee their countries, leaving everything they know behind to seek for international protection as refugees. Arriving in a new country is never easy, even less so if you do not speak the language. More than a decade ago, a Nigerian citizen sought refuge in Ecuador fearing for his life after his family’s assassination by an armed group. However, during his refuge claim interview he was not granted access to an interpreter. The lack of effective communication, resulted not only in the denial of his claim but also led to his expulsion from Ecuadorian territory. Through judgment 897-11-JP/20, Ecuador’s Constitutional Court addressed the right to due process in refuge claims focusing on the right to an interpreter. The Court also developed the rights to refuge and non-refoulment and ordered the State to issue regulation that would grant access to these rights.