On the matter of refuge,[i] Ecuador’s policy has as main objective to guarantee unrestricted respect for human rights, and the promotion and advocacy of fundamental rights of all persons, without exceptions, as determined by the political foundations of the National Government. This implies the need to prepare new interpretation criteria to determine refugee status, based on the broadened definition of a refugee contained in the 1984 Declaration of Cartagena, and adopted in Article 2 of Executive Decree 3301 of May 6, 1992, with modifications made in 2009.
Likewise, will be considered refugees the persons that have fled their country because their safety or freedom has been threatened by generalized violence, foreign aggression, internal conflicts, massive violation of human rights, and other circumstances that may have seriously disrupted public law and order.
The commission to determine the status of refugees in Ecuador was created by means of Executive Decree 3301, and under the coordination of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. It is composed of two officers of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and one officer of the Ministry of Government, and to its sessions may be summoned, in the capacity of observer, a Representative of the United Nations High Commission for Refugees.
The application for recognition of refugee status may be made by the interested party, by an authorized representative, or by the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR).
Refugees in Ecuador enjoy the same rights that the Constitution and the laws of the Republic recognize to foreigners in general, and also enjoy the rights provided for in the 1951 Convention.
At the constitutional level, are recognized the rights of asylum and refuge, pursuant to the law and international instruments on human rights. Persons found in asylum or refugee status will enjoy special protection that guarantees full exercise of their rights. The State will respect and guarantee the principle of no return, in addition to emergency humanitarian and legal assistance. Will not be applied to persons that apply for asylum or refuge, the penal sanctions for their entry or stay in an irregular status.