IACHR Press Office
Washington D.C. - The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) is closely monitoring events in Ecuador, after President Guillermo Lasso exercised his constitutional power to dissolve the National Assembly and call an early election.
On May 17, the president issued Executive Decree 741, dissolving the current composition of the National Assembly, and notifying the National Electoral Council (CNE) to call early extraordinary elections. This decision was made by invoking Article 148 of the Constitution and the procedure it describes as “cross death.” The president adopted this action by citing a "serious political crisis and internal social upheaval" in the country. It is important to note that this action took place in the context where the president is being subjected to impeachment proceedings by the National Assembly, for alleged corruption.
The independence of the different branches of government and respect for the democratic order are essential to guarantee the full enjoyment and exercise of human rights by all people. These principles are crucial to safeguard due process, equality before the law, citizen participation, and accountability, all of them essential in any democratic and fair society.
The IACHR calls on Ecuadorian authorities to respect the democratic constitutional order and to foster and strengthen the independence and separation of powers and the appropriate operations of the State. The Commission notes the decision made by Ecuador’s Constitutional Court on May 18, rejecting allegations that Executive Decree 741 was unconstitutional. The Court said in a statement that it had no “competent jurisdiction to investigate the existence and motives of the serious political crisis and internal social upheaval invoked by the president to dissolve the National Assembly in keeping with Article 148 of the constitution,” and that no other judicial authority in the country had competent jurisdiction in this matter either.
The IACHR stresses how important it is for all stakeholders involved in the State’s political dialogue and for society as a whole to commit to preserving peace and democracy at all times. In particular, the Commission calls on Ecuadorian authorities to continue to protect the human rights of all people, as well as their rights to freedom of expression, freedom of association, and freedom of assembly, and their right to citizen participation. All these aspects are fundamental pillars of a democratic society. The Commission further stresses that early elections should be held in compliance with the applicable inter-American standards.
The Commission will continue to observe the situation in Ecuador and stresses its commitment to closely monitor events there, with a view to promoting respect for and the protection of human rights in the country.
The IACHR is a principal and autonomous organ of the Organization of American States (OAS), whose mandate derives from the OAS Charter and the American Convention on Human Rights. The Inter-American Commission is mandated to promote the observance of human rights in the region and to act as an advisory body to the OAS on the matter. The IACHR is composed of seven independent members who are elected by the OAS General Assembly in their personal capacity, and do not represent their countries of origin or residence.
*Commissioner Stuardo Ralon Orellana cast a reasoned vote on this press release, which is available at the Executive Secretariat of the IACHR.