The elimination of the Ministry of Justice, Human Rights and Worship, as mandated by President Lenin Moreno, would be a “setback in terms of human rights”, consider activists in that area.
The ministry was created by former President Rafael Correa, on November 14, 2007, and among the main functions were the rector of the country’s penitentiary system, formerly in the hands of the Ministry of Government (today’s Interior Ministry), and to promote the implementation of mechanisms of dissemination of human rights. Then, other responsibilities were added such as establishing agreements for the integral reparation of victims of human rights violations and presiding over the Council for the Equality of Women and LGBTI Persons.
And the concern of Billy Navarrete, secretary of the Permanent Committee for Human Rights; by Harold Burbano, human rights specialist; and Julio César Cueva, specialist in criminal law, lies in not knowing which entity will assume the functions of the Ministry of Justice.
Decree 491 of Moreno gives 30 days for the National Planning Secretariat and the General and Legal secretariats of the Presidency to define the mechanisms for the optimization of the state apparatus, which includes the derivation of the functions of this ministry.
Since its creation, eight officials have passed through the ministry. The last one is Paúl Granda, secretary of Political Management, to whom Moreno entrusted him with the reins of the entity once Rosana Alvarado submitted her resignation to the position.
“It is a step back, without a doubt, to a specialized and technical treatment on the prison problem; there is no sign that there is an entity, such as the Ministry of Justice, as the law states … “, says Navarrete.
Burbano says that even with the current Ministry of Justice some problems within the prisons have not been solved, so that when the situation disappears it could worsen. And he cites as an example the extortions inside the prisons related to the changes of pavilions.
The existence of a Ministry of Justice was good, Burbano maintains, for compliance with the Constitution and human rights, so it rejects the possibility that the functions of this State portfolio be transferred to the Ministry of the Interior.
“We want to reduce costs and in that sense we have heard several members of the Ministry of the Interior who are going to join both the corps of correctional agents with the Police, and this from the point of view of human rights is worrying …”,Burbano maintains.
Cueva also disagrees with the possible merger and points out that the training of both groups of uniformed is different, and that many of the attacks against human rights are committed by the police. “You will have police officers who are prepared to repress demonstrations and inside prisons may serve for a riot, but with police prepared to fight crime may happen what happened yesterday (last Thursday, in Mascarilla, Imbabura), that a policeman shot a person in the back … “
Gina Godoy, zonal coordinator of the Ministry of Justice, points out that the merger with the Interior Ministry has not been confirmed by Moreno. And “there is still no decree on the part of the president making decisions of where the powers of Justice are sent.” (I)