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Ecuador: Detainees face hunger and health risks

Detainees in at least five major prisons in Ecuador face the risk of hunger and health issues. Since April 24, prison authorities have stopped providing food and medication. Amnesty International is urging the National Service for Integral Attention to People Deprived of Liberty (SNAI) to restore access to these essentials immediately. Amnesty emphasizes the need to protect the rights to health, food, and physical integrity of all detainees in Ecuador.

Here’s what you can do:

Write to the Director General of the SNAI urging him to:

  • Immediately restore access to food and medication to all detainees.
  • Ensure that the rights of detainees are not put at risk.

Write to:

General Luis Eduardo Zaldumbide López

Director General, SNAI

Orellana E3-62 y 9 de Octubre

Quito – Ecuador

Email: luis.zaldumbide@atencionintegral.gob.ec

Salutation: Dear 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

Crisis in Ecuador’s penitentiary system

For years, Ecuador’s prison system has been plagued by a severe crisis, highlighted by frequent massacres. The Permanent Committee for the Defense of Human Rights (CDH) reports that around 600 people have died in these facilities from 2019 to now. Amnesty International notes that health services in these prisons have effectively been non-functional since at least 2022.

The crisis worsened early this year when President Daniel Noboa took drastic steps. On January 8-9, he declared a state of exception and an internal armed conflict, allowing the Armed Forces to take control of the prisons. These decrees have been extended, leading to the suspension of health services. There have also been reports of detainee mistreatment by soldiers during this period.

Impact of recent government measures

On April 24, prison authorities announced the cessation of food and medication provisions due to delayed payments to the private food supplier. Detainees’ families were informed they needed to purchase medications themselves as the prisons would no longer supply them.

In response, families of the detainees organized a peaceful protest outside the National Service for Integral Attention of People Deprived of Liberty. They demanded information about their loved ones and the restoration of basic provisions.

This action underscores the critical importance of the United Nations Nelson Mandela Rules, which mandate that prisons ensure proper nutrition, water access, and healthcare for all inmates, aligning with the absolute international prohibition against torture and ill-treatment.

Please take action as soon as possible until June 06, 2024! The UA will be duly updated should there be the need for further action.