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Ecuador: Detainees still at risk

Since April 24, prison authorities in Ecuador have stopped providing food and medication to detainees in five major prisons. On May 2, a judge ordered the Ministry of Economy and Finance to transfer the necessary funds to the National Service for Integral Attention of People Deprived of Liberty (SNAI) within 15 days to resume these essential supplies. In the interim, detainees’ families and charities have had to cover the cost of food and medication. We urge SNAI to collaborate promptly and earnestly with the Ministry of Economy and Finance to implement the judge’s order effectively. The rights to food, health, and physical integrity of all detainees in Ecuador must be respected.

Here’s what you can do:

Write to the Director General of SNAI urging his office to:

  • Coordinate with the Ministry of Economy and Finance and comply fully with the judge’s ruling immediately.

Write to:

General Luis Eduardo Zaldumbide López

Director General

Servicio Nacional de Atención Integral a Personas Adultas Privadas de la Libertad

Orellana E3-62 y 9 de Octubre 

Quito – Ecuador 

Email: luis.zaldumbide@atencionintegral.gob.ec

Salutation: Dear Director General Zaldumbide López,

And copy:

His Excellency Carlos Alberto Patricio Jativa Naranjo


Embassy of the Republic of Ecuador

99 Bank Street, Suite 230

Ottawa, ON K1P 6B9

Tel: (613) 563-8206

Email: eecucanada@cancilleria.gob.ec

Suspension of essential supplies in Ecuadorian prisons

On April 24, Ecuador’s prison authorities announced the suspension of food and medication provision, citing a payment delay to the private company responsible for these services, according to local media. As a result, families were informed they would need to purchase and provide medications for their detained relatives since the prisons were out of supplies.

In response, families of the detainees organized a peaceful protest outside the headquarters of the National Service for Integral Attention of People Deprived of Liberty, demanding updates on their relatives’ well-being and the restoration of food and medication services.

Subsequently, a coalition of human rights organizations in Ecuador sought precautionary measures to safeguard the detainees’ rights.

During a hearing on May 2, a judge in Quito ruled in favor of these measures. The court ordered the Ministry of Economy and Finance to fund the prison food service provider within 15 days and mandated the National Service for Integral Attention of People Deprived of Liberty to initiate a procurement process for a long-term food supplier within three months. The judge also required interim solutions to ensure food access, including accepting donations, and tasked the Ombudsman’s Office with monitoring compliance and providing monthly updates.

This situation underscores the United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners, which mandate that prison administrations ensure adequate food, water, and healthcare. Additionally, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights has ruled in cases like Fleury v Haiti that states cannot use financial constraints as an excuse for detention conditions that fall below international standards and fail to respect human dignity.

Please take action as soon as possible until June 6, 2024! The UA will be duly updated should there be the need for further action.