On March 28th, Belén Páez, President of Fundación Pachamama, brought the organization’s case regarding its illegal shut down to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) for a topic hearing titled “Situation of the Right to Freedom of Association and Environmental Defenders in Ecuador.”

In addition to presenting concerns about the organization’s shutdown, Ms. Páez told the IACHR that, “Beyond presenting our specific case, we come to defend the freedom of association in all of Ecuador,” and stated that the lack of due process in Fundación Pachamama’s dissolution has served as an instrument to intimidate other organizations in the country.

Ecuador’s government did not send any representatives to attend, claiming it did not want to be part of a “political show.” Ms. Belén stated, “The government’s absence only shows the lack of respect for international spaces where they have agreed to convene for instances like this.”

In response to the information presented, Commissioner Jesús Orozco stated, “We express grave concern about the information provided, according to which, via administrative tools, the government gives itself license to impose severe and disproportionate obstacles to human rights organizations.”

In June of 2013, Ecuador’s government enacted Decree 16 that established restrictions on the right of association, effectively banning NGOs from “political activities…that interfere with public policies that undermine national or external security of the state or compromise public peace.” Fundación Pachamama was the first organization to be dissolved under the new decree.

The hearing has received much press in the days following. Below is a list of articles in order of appearance (in Spanish):

29/3: El Comercio from te webcast in Quito: La CIDH espera una invitación de Ecuador

29/3: Interview with Mario on Sonorama about Protection Action in Ecuadorian Court: Fundación Pachamama llevará su caso a Corte Constitucional de Ecuador

29/3. El Hoy (source EFE), focused on IACHR concern about violations of rights: La CIDH eleva su crítica por cierre de Pachamama

29/3, El Universo (about FP and Fundamedios): about IACHR concerning free association and freedom of speech: CIDH, preocupada por la situación de libertades de asociación y prensa

29/3: El telégrafo: Focused on decision state not to participate considering IACHR as a “political show”

28/3: Hoy based on an interview with Mario on Sonorama about taking our case to the constitutional court in Ecuador: Fundación Pachamama acudirá a la Corte Constitucional de Ecuador

28/3: EFE from the IACHR hearing of FP (repeated by national and international media): Denuncian ante CIDH la violación del derecho de asociación en Ecuador

28/3: El Mercurio, from the press conference of INREDH about FP (focused on the Decree 16) and the case of the 4 Mexican students who died at Angostura: Otras dos demandas ante la CIDH contra el Estado

28/3, Ciudadania informada –  about FP and Fundamedios, focused on lack of assistence of the state: CIDH lamenta ausencia del Gobierno de Ecuador en audiencia and visit to Ecuador

28/3: Ecuador no irá a la CIDH, Patiño

28/3: Ecuador dice no se prestará al “show político” que quiere organizar la CIDH

27/3: Patiño y Mera saying that IACHR is political show and hearing solicited by FP stating FP is “an organization far from being an NGO, with an attitude of politics and violence”: Ecuador no participará en el periodo de audiencias de la CIDH

23/3: Plan V based on an interview with Belén Páez: El riesgo de defender la naturaleza

17/3, EFE announcement of FP going to IACHR to denounce closure: ‘Pachamama’ presentará denuncia ante CIDH contra gobierno ecuatoriano

17/3: Article of EFE based on our press release: Pachamama denunciará su disolución a la CIDH