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Asia and the Pacific
Western Asia

Ecuador - January 2024

Presidential decree expands security forces’ powers due to “internal armed conflict”
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President Daniel Noboa decreed a state of emergency and expanded security forces’ powers after a significant surge in violence, including the escape of an imprisoned gang leader, the kidnapping of police officers and the taking of over 100 prison officials hostage, as well as an incident in which a group of armed men took reporters hostage during a live broadcast at a TV station.  

The presidential decrees, which include the declaration of an “internal armed conflict”, enable the military and national police to “neutralize” such groups. They established a night-time curfew and determined the applicability of international humanitarian law. 

In the following days, the military regained control of prisons, releasing the hostages.  

The surge in violence highlights gang leaders’ power and influence over prison officials, members of the judiciary and police. Relatedly, a prosecutor investigating the hostage taking at the TV station and working on another gang-related investigation known as “Caso Metastasis”, related to the infiltration of gangs in Ecuadorian institutions such as the police and judiciary, was murdered in Guayaquil state.

Sources: El UniversoLa HoraDeutsche Welle, British Broadcasting Corporation, El Pais (1), El Pais (2), The New York Times 

Primary categories and factors
Rule of Law -2 Rule of Law  (-2)
Absence of Corruption
Personal Integrity and Security
Secondary categories and factors
Rights Rights
Civil Liberties

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