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Cablegate: Goe Critical of Human Rights Report 2006

VZCZCXYZ0008
OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHQT #0559 0672153
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 082153Z MAR 07
FM AMEMBASSY QUITO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 6514
INFO RUEHBO/AMEMBASSY BOGOTA PRIORITY 6515
RUEHCV/AMEMBASSY CARACAS PRIORITY 2437
RUEHLP/AMEMBASSY LA PAZ MAR 0485
RUEHPE/AMEMBASSY LIMA PRIORITY 1493
RUEHGL/AMCONSUL GUAYAQUIL PRIORITY 2028

UNCLAS QUITO 000559

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KPAO APER PHUM PREL EC
SUBJECT: GOE CRITICAL OF HUMAN RIGHTS REPORT 2006

REF: A) STATE 21092 B) STATE 27773

1. (U) Summary: The Correa Government publicly criticized
our recently-released human rights report detailing problems
in Ecuador, challenging our competency to judge human rights.
That said, GOE objections were more muted than last year,
under the Palacio Government. Ecuadorian press reaction has
been factual, highlighting the problems the report cites, and
noting that overall, human rights conditions in Ecuador have
improved somewhat. End summary.

GOE Reaction Better Than Last Year
----------------------------------

2. (U) In a statement released by the Ministry of Foreign
Affairs March 7, the GOE reiterated "its traditional position
that the Department of State lacks the competency and the
international mandate to judge and issue value judgments
regarding the fulfillment of human rights in the countries
examined." Unlike in 2005, when then-FM Carrion repeatedly
and publicly criticized the report, official commentary
against the report ended there. Neither Correa nor the
Foreign Minister made any public comments. The remainder of
the statement described how Ecuador was dealing with human
rights issues and noted the government's efforts to improve
the professionalism of the police, determination to fight
corruption and its improved record fighting trafficking in
persons.

3. (SBU) Prior to the release of the statement, Poloff met
with Augusto Saa, MFA Director General for Human Rights and
Social Issues. Saa said that Ecuador was "required to
respond to the Human Rights Report chapter on Ecuador based
on the normalities of a bilateral diplomatic relationship,"
(whatever that means) but said the GOE'sresponse would not be
inflammatory. Saa reported that the Ministry wanted to be
constructive and sought to "contribute to the discourse"
regarding human rights in Ecuador and around the world.

Press Reaction Less Prickly
---------------------------

4. (U) Press coverage of the report following its release on
March 7 focused on the reports description of corruption and
the weaknesses of Ecuador's judicial system. Major national
daily El Universo's page two caption on the report read "the
country is affected by corruption and a vulnerable justice
system." Some articles noted that the U.S. included some
self-critical language as part of the release this year. In
general, press coverage was factual, with some publications
concluding that the overall picture in Ecuador had improved
over the last year.

Comment
-------

5. (SBU) The Correa government's nationalistic objections to
the report aside, the GOE's reaction has been most
interesting for its restraint in comparison to an even less
civil predecessor. It helps that relative to its neighbors,
Ecuador's human rights situation looks reasonably good, and
that the Correa government is committed to reform of the
police and other weak institutions. That restraint will be
more seriously tested next year, when we will report on human
rights conditions under the Correa Government.

JEWELL

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