More than 44 people died and more than a dozen were injured after riots broke out Monday in the prison, located in the northern city of Santo Domingo, OHCHR spokesman Liz Throssell said, citing authorities.
The riots were allegedly sparked by the transfer of a prisoner known as ‘Anchundia’, associated with the R7 gang, from La Roca prison in the southwest to the Santo Domingo facility.
This was the last violence to break out in prisons in the South American country. Fifteen people were injured in clashes between inmates of different gangs at the El Inca prison in the capital Quito on April 25.
Three days earlier, a disturbance at Esmeralda No. 2 Prison, located on the north coast, had injured 12 inmates.
“These disturbing incidents reiterate the urgent need for a comprehensive reform of the criminal justice system, including the penitentiary system, to address the protracted crisis in the country,” Ms Throssell told journalists in Geneva.
Call for inquiry
From December 2020 to May 2022, at least 390 people were murdered in Ecuador’s prisons, including some 20 inmates at a prison in the south of the country on April 3, it added.
“We emphasize that the state’s responsibility for the safety of all people in custody creates a presumption of state responsibility for these deaths and call for a full investigation of these incidents.”
Ms. Throssell recalled that the President of Ecuador, Guillermo Lasso, had launched a public policy of social rehabilitation of prisoners in February.
The plan was developed with significant technical support from OHCHR and in consultation with a large cross-section of Ecuadorian society, including the families of prisoners and prisoners themselves.
“We encourage the state to take strong steps and provide adequate resources to implement this policy,” she said.
Step-by-step plan for safety
OHCHR also called on the government to carefully consider the recommendations in its 2019 report on human rights in the administration of justice, which aim to reduce violence, deaths and serious injuries in detention.
Authorities were also urged to consider a roadmap proposed by OHCHR and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) to ensure security in prisons and improve prison management, including by fighting corruption , among other measures.
“The UN Human Rights Office will continue to work with other UN agencies as we continue our efforts to support Ecuador in meeting this urgent challenge, based on human rights and in line with international norms and standards,” said Ms Throssell.