Tell Ecuador’s President: Stop the persecution of social and labour activists

April 23, 2014
Dr. Carlos Figueroa
The former leader of an organization affiliated with Public Services International (PSI) in Ecuador and two others were sentenced to prison after criticizing government actions in Ecuador. The American Commission of Human Rights, IACHR, has recently granted precautionary measures in favour of these people and the Ecuadorian government refuses to comply.

 The global union federation PSI calls for labour rights defenders to write to President Rafael Correa, requesting that his government respects the Precautionary Measures granted by the IACHR in favour of Carlos Figueroa and ends the persecution of social and labour activists immediately; among them there is also the former president of the National Union of Teachers, Mary Zamora, an affiliate of the International Education-IE.

Background information:

The leader of a trade union affiliated with Public Services International (PSI) and two other people have received prison sentences after denouncing government actions in Ecuador. The global trade union federation PSI calls on labour supporters to write to Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa, asking that his government immediately end the persecution of labour and social justice activists.

Dr Carlos Figueroa, General Secretary of the Ecuadorian Medical Federation (a PSI affiliate), the Pachakutik Movement parliamentarian, Cléver Jiménez Cabrera and his advisor, Fernando Villavicencio Valencia, ex-leader of the oil workers’ trade union, were accused of libeling Ecuador’s President. The three had asked the public prosecutor to investigate the propriety of the President’s order for military intervention to ‘rescue’ him from the National Police Hospital in Quito during a political crisis in September 2010. The violent military action resulted in a number of deaths.

PSI affiliates in Ecuador have protested repeatedly against the Public Service Law, finally adopted on 6 October 2010, which drastically restricts freedom of association and collective bargaining for public service workers.

Figuerora has been sentenced to six months in prison and both Jiménez and Villavicencio to 18 months in prison. The offices and homes of both Jiménez and Villavicencio were raided on 26 December 2013. They were accused of hacking the president’s electronic mail, whereas in fact they have been investigating cases of government corruption. After an unsuccessful appeal, all three could be imprisoned any day now.

Join PSI in telling President Correa that this is not the way to build democracy. Legal institutions are meant to protect rights – not attack those who criticise the government! The eyes of the international trade union movement are on Ecuador’s government. Tell President Correa to repeal the regressive Public Service Law and stop its persecution of labour and social justice activists now.

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