PRESS RELEASE – Statements from the Government of Ecuador made on June 27, 2013 regarding the asylum request of Mr. Eduard Snowden
28 de Junio de 2013 - 08h32
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Mr. FERNANDO ALVARADO, NATIONAL SECRETARY OF COMMUNICATION, declared:
“Ecuador rejects categorically the misinformed campaign that seeks to discredit the sovereignty of our nation through the manipulation of issues such as the case of former National Security Agency spy, Edward Snowden, the recent passage of the Communications Act, an alleged local espionage incident, and through claims of Ecuador’s anti-American attitude as well as other lines of attack for the sole purpose of damaging the country’s image.
The local business media, which proclaims that there is no freedom of expression in this country, shamelessly produces and reproduces the lies of the Washington Post, Business Week, Reporters Without Borders, the CPJ, so-called think tanks, the biased analysis of NGOs produced as a form of political attack against progressive governments, and the wildest lies of irresponsible politicians.
National and international media have aligned themselves with the slander that seeks, without evidence, to compare the espionage denounced by Snowden with alleged spying activity against Ecuadorian citizens, and to position this alleged situation as a double standard.
Regarding this, JOSE SERRANO, MINISTER OF THE INTERIOR stated:
- “The document being circulated regarding the purchase of espionage equipment is a cheap, unsigned farce.
- The Government and other state institutions have expressed publicly the need to acquire anti-crime intelligence equipment to deal with kidnapping, drug trafficking and organized crime.
- All acquisitions of security equipment are covered by Art. 20 of the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and by Article 155 of the Código de Procedimiento Penal Ecuatoriano [the Criminal Procedure Code of Ecuador]. In order to be completely transparent and mindful of the full force of human rights, the Consejo de Policía Judicial [Judicial Police Council] approved regulations for the implementation and operation of the Electronic Technical Surveillance System. This was published in Official Gazette 678 in April 2012 and confirms the unavoidable requirement of a court order, requested not by the government but by the Attorney General, in order to carry out electronic surveillance, with the sole purpose of fighting violent crime.
- It should be noted that Ecuador does not have enough technological tools to combat organized crime and often must turn to friendly countries to seek logistical support.
- These tools are used to defend the public and not political interests. In Ecuador, there is no phone tapping for purposes other than criminal investigations. Among others success, the legal and legitimate use of these tools has resulted in a one hundred percent success rate for solving kidnapping cases.
- The Ecuadorian government has nothing to hide, and therefore invites the national and international press that have been circulating these lies to demonstrate a single case of an Ecuadorian national or foreign citizen who has been subject to telephone surveillance by this government. Failure to do so within the next 24 hours will show the world that they are liars.
- In Ecuador, human rights are fully respected, and officials act in accordance with the Constitution and the international treaties that the country has signed. We can unconditionally guarantee that no citizen is or will be spied on for political purposes.”
Ms. BETTY TOLA, SECRETARY OF POLICY ADMINISTRATION, stated:
“Regarding the alleged provision of refugee documents or a letter of safe conduct to Mr. Edward Snowden, we clarify and
- We confirm that the Government of Ecuador has not authorized the issuance of any safe conduct or refugee document allowing Mr. Snowden to be transferred to our country. Any document of this type is invalid and is the sole responsibility of its issuer.
- The asylum request from Mr. Edward Snowden has not yet been processed because the petitioner is not on Ecuador soil.
- The human right to seek asylum is set out in Article 14 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Article 22 of the American Convention on the same subject, as well as in Article 41 of the Ecuadorian Constitution and Article 4 of the Ley de Extranjería [Immigration Act]. Given all of the above, it is unheard of to seek to delegitimize a state for receiving a request for asylum.
- Some have pointed out that, like any in nation in the world, in Ecuador, the state deems some information to be confidential and the disclosure of such information is punishable under law. Yet this fails to recognize that a problem arises when information is kept confidential in order to hide human rights violations, attacks on the law and international treaties, and violations of the sovereignty of other states. A problem arises as well in the failure to ensure due process and the fundamental human rights of those who reveal such information in order to punish them.
- It should be noted that the information revealed by Mr. Snowden deals with secret espionage programs around the world, which contravene international law, and that
the penalties for the crimes for which he is accused may contravene the Inter-American Human Rights Convention, which unfortunately, the United States has not ratified.”
Mr. FERNANDO ALVARADO, NATIONAL SECRETARY OF COMMUNICATION declared:
“Given the threats, insolence and arrogance of certain political sectors, media groups and factual American powers that have pressed for the removal of preferential tariffs–the ATPDEA–granted to our country, Ecuador states that:
- Ecuador accepts no pressure or threats from anyone, and does not bargain with its principles nor does it allow them to be subjected to commercial interests, however important they may be.
- Ecuador reminds the world that the preferential tariffs were originally granted as compensation to the Andean countries for their fight against drugs, but soon became a new instrument of blackmail.
- Consequently, Ecuador unilaterally and irrevocably resigns from the ATPDEA and its preferential tariffs.
- Moreover, Ecuador offers the U.S. $23 million annually in economic aid–an amount similar to that which we received from the tariff preferences–in order to provide human rights training which will contribute to preventing attacks on people’s privacy, torture, extrajudicial killings, and other acts injurious to mankind. Citizens of Ecuador and the world:
Ecuador is one of only seven countries in the Americas that has ratified all the inter- American human rights instruments, so it kindly requests the U.S. ratify at least some of them, starting with the Inter-American Convention on Human Rights (the Pact of San José), on which the Inter-American Human Rights System is based.
We understand that there must be mechanisms to combat terrorism, but we cannot allow this endeavor to trample upon human rights and the sovereignty of peoples.
We express our affection, appreciation and respect for the American people with whom we have always had an excellent relationship and we sympathize with them for the massive espionage campaign to which they have been subjected.
Finally, we would have been very pleased indeed if with the same urgency that the return of Mr. Snowden has been demanded, should he set foot upon Ecuadorian soil, that the return of the many fugitives from Ecuadorian justice hiding in the United States could be arranged. This has been politely requested in document POL 081/2013 provided to the U.S. Embassy in Ecuador. We are particularly interested in the corrupt bankers who knowingly brought the country to collapse in 1999 and whose extradition has been repeatedly denied by the United States.”
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