More than 500 people from 70 civil society organizations have asked the Ecuadorean Government’s Human Rights Ombudsman’s Office (Defensoría del Pueblo) to start legal actions against the Ministry of Economy and Finance for not making the Agreement with the International Monetary Fund publicly available.
The Human Rights Ombudsman had previously made a public statement urging the Government to comply with Constitutional procedures for ratification of the Agreement with the IMF. As in many European countries, an Agreement with the IMF requires prior approval by the Constitutional Court and, subsequently, by Parliament. This procedure was included in articles 419 and 439 of Ecuador’s 2008 Constitution for multilateral loan agreements that include policy conditionality.
In its lawsuit, the Human Rights Ombudsman, led by human rights law professor Gina Benavides, insists that the Agreement with the IMF comply with Constitutional and Parliamentary procedure. Ecuador’s Constitutional Court has previously decided that loan agreements (such as those with Chinese Banks) that include policy conditionality must first be ratified by the National Assembly.
Civil society organizations plan to file amicus briefs in their hopes that this judicial action will shed light into the secret Agreement that the Ecuadorean Government has signed with the IMF. Organizations have detected that the Agreement negatively impacts human rights of workers and also those of citizens as users of public service. They are sure that Court proceedings will reveal human rights implications and that Parliamentary debate will reveal the undemocratic extent of these types of Agreements and establish alternatives such as those recommended by the United Nationas’ Independent Expert on the promotion of a democratic and equitable international order: cut military spending, tax evasion, corruption and creditor abuse.
This analysis follows the very recent “Guiding principles on human rights impact assessments of economic reforms” issued by the United Nations’ Independent Expert on the effects of foreign debt and other related international financial obligations of States on the full enjoyment of human rights, particularly economic, social and cultural rights.
For more information, download the full lawsuit.