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Posts tagged ‘Ecuador’


OP-ICESCR Enters into Force: New Opportunities for Recourse to Work Rights Violations

The 5th of May marked an important day in the human rights world as the Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Economic Social and Cultural Rights (OP-ICESCR) received its requisite 10th ratification, triggering its entry into force.

????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????Now operational, OP-ICESCR offers an avenue through which individuals, groups and third parties may file complaints against ratifying States for violations of rights set forth in the ICESCR. In establishing the complaints procedure, the Protocol offers a much-needed international mechanism by which rights under the ICESCR can be legally enforced. The significance of this is considerable given that ICESCR has been operational for close to 40 years (entering into force in 1976) but, until now, has functioned without any mechanism to enforce those rights. Complaints will be considered by the UN’s Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR), a body of independent experts established under ECOSOC and mandated to monitor the implementation of ICESCR.

For Ecuador, one of the 10 countries party to OP-ICESCR and also home to the largest number of refugees in Latin America, the Protocol’s entry into force means that refugees who have been subjected to labor rights abuses at the hand of the State may seek legal recourse at the international level.

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The Right to Work in Ecuador: A Positive Development within a Restrictive New Law

Adina Appelbaum is a second year joint MPP/JD student at Georgetown University.  She spent a year in Cairo, Egypt as a Fulbright Fellow providing legal aid to refugees who had fled from Iraq, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Somalia, and Sudan.  Adina has also worked with refugee issues at Asylum Access Ecuador and at the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.

By Adina Appelbaum

On May 30, 2012, the Ecuadorian government adopted Decreto 1182, a new restrictive decree that has replaced the previous policies regarding the refugee status determination process (RSD) in Ecuador.  Decreto 1182 represents a great setback for refugee rights in Ecuador, as the law no longer includes a provision to accept refugees under the Cartagena Declaration on Refugees of 1984, which until recently has provided protection to thousands of Colombians fleeing violence.  Under the new decree, asylum seekers now have only 15 business days to apply for status in Ecuador after entering the country and three to five days to submit an appeal for a negative decision.  Additionally, refugees who are considered ilegitimas, or illegitimate, are now excluded from the process.

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Updates From the Field — Refugee Livelihoods in Ecuador

Photo by Nitsan Tal

Anna Chen spent a year working for Asylum Access in Quito, Ecuador. In March 2012, she travelled with volunteer photographer Nitsan Tal to document the inspiring lives of our refugee clients. 

By: Anna Chen. 

In a home virtually empty of furniture, Maria* shows me the wood boards lying among sawdust, glue, paint and work tools. Donning a white face mask, she squats down and begins to saw at a board. These are the first steps of making what will become large wooden mirror frames, a craft she learned from the internet. Each takes several hours to complete, including embellishing the frames with ornate golden decorations. But this is the easy bit.

Maria tells me the most difficult part is getting people to buy them off the streets of Quito, where she peddles them for about USD10 apiece. With modest profit margins, Maria must sell dozens to feed her family of four every month.
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This labor day, let’s reflect on how lucky we are to have employment

As we commemorate Labor Day and enjoy the long weekend, many refugees in Africa, Asia and Latin America still cannot feed their families because they are denied the right to work.

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