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.

Citizens in action! participation rights as a new horizon to protect nature’s rights in Ecuador

Natural resources are of utmost importance for exercising the rights of the entire world population and the countries’ socio-economic development. In Ecuador, a wave of discomfort with exploiting natural resources was raised. What have citizens done to address this concern? First, the citizenry has activated plebiscites to ban mineral exploitation, which had a substantial local endorsement and bound the authorities to adopt frameworks and public policies to protect water sources. On the other hand, several indigenous communities claimed in the judiciary that the Ecuadorian State did not consult them prior to authorizing natural resource exploitation. They also succeeded in their mission to revoke mining concessions in their territories. Hence, the power to shift the management of natural resources towards protecting collective human rights is under the people’s control.

The elements of nature as a concrete subject of rights in the jurisprudence of the Constitutional Court of Ecuador: A biocentric or ecocentric perspective?

The jurisprudential work of the Constitutional Court of Ecuador in the matter of the rights of nature has demanded to adopt an interpretation work -with a systemic perspective-, which allows us to glimpse its scope of protection through specific subjects such as the river and its ecological flow, forests, mangroves and wild animals. In this virtue, the latest sentences issued by the highest body of constitutional justice in Ecuador in terms of the rights of nature, when directed in this sense, are basting an initial line of jurisprudence in attention to the ecological mandate contained in the Constitution of Ecuador. The analysis, taking into account the above, seeks to expose ideas about the path adopted by the Constitutional Court from a biocentric or ecocentric perspective.

An overview of the protection of fundamental rights of pregnant women of the Constitutional Court of Ecuador

The Constitution of the Republic of Ecuador recognizes that pregnant women are a priority target group due to social, cultural and economic factors that have affected them historically. As a result of it, the State is obliged to ensure the full access and realization of the pregnant women rights. In this regard, the Constitutional Court of Ecuador has issued a series of judgements that analyze specific cases of obstetric violence, discrimination and violence on the basis of pregnancy or maternity that demonstrate the vulnerability that pregnant women still face in various scenarios. In this context, I will give a lecture based on the jurisprudential work of the Court to address on the continuous need of specific regulation and public policy that meet the requirements of pregnant women and allow them to access and truly exercise their constitutional rights.

The Constitutional Court of Ecuador and the protection of the rights of migrants and refugees

Ecuador has been historically a country of origin, transit, destination and return of migrant workers, refugees and asylum seekers, mainly from Colombia due to the armed conflict, but also from Venezuela because of the humanitarian and human rights crisis. In this context, during the last three years the Constitutional Court of Ecuador has issued relevant decisions to promote and strengthen the protection of the rights of migrants and refugees, analyzing matters such as: the right to migrate, the prohibition immigration detention, the guarantees of due process on the migration procedures, the risk of statelessness by the lack of birth registrations, or the prohibition of collective expulsions. These judgments not only play an important role in Ecuador and the Region on dismantling stereotypes against migrants but may also have an impact on different countries that experiences forced migration.