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LATIN AMERICA | 23-08-2021 20:39

Regional human rights body slams Ecuador over prison deaths

Inter-American Commission on Human Rights condemns violence in Ecuadorean prisons that has left 121 inmates dead this year.

The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights on Monday condemned violence in Ecuadoran prisons that has left 121 inmates dead this year.

The IACHR – an autonomous body within the Organisation of American States (OAS) – said in a statement it "condemns the acts of violence that occurred in several Ecuadorean prisons resulting in at least 121 inmates losing their lives."

It said it "urges the state to adopt immediate and effective measures to guarantee the rights to life and personal integrity of those in custody, as well as to prevent a repeat of these acts."

Ecuadoran authorities blame the deaths on violent clashes between rival gangs linked to drug-trafficking.

Simultaneous riots in four main prisons in February left 79 people dead, some of whom were decapitated.

According to the ombudsman, there were 103 murders in the country's prisons in 2020.

Prisons are over-populated with 39,000 inmates in a system that has a capacity of just 30,000.

After another riot in July left 27 prisoners dead, the government replaced the authorities in charge of the 65 prisons in the country and declared an emergency in the prison system.

Last week, Ecuador announced it would increase the prison category and restructure the "precarious" and "chaotic" system.

– TIMES/AFP

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