Protecting human rights in migration situations (PRODEM)
Title: Protecting human rights in migration situations (PRODEM)
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Lead executing agency: Secretaría Técnica del Plan Ecuador (STPE)
Overall term: 2013 to 2016
The human rights situation in the border area between Ecuador and Colombia is adversely affected by the conflict in Colombia and the weak presence of the Ecuadorian state.
A number of concurrent factors provoke conflict in the border region, and this has far-reaching consequences for the population. There are increasing reports of evictions in all three of Ecuador’s border provinces, and there are regular cases of extortion and protection rackets. Youths in particular are forcibly recruited for illegal groups or contract killing. Every month 1,200 Colombians seek refuge in Ecuador. This is in addition to the 135,000 or so Colombian refugees who are already in the country.
State protection mechanisms for those affected in the border region are ineffective. Access to constitutional rights is particularly difficult for migrants and asylum seekers in spite of the fact that the Andean Community (Comunidad Andina de Naciones, CAN) has resolved to tackle this situation and the South American Conference on Migration (Conferencia Sudamericana sobre Migraciones) has issued recommendations.
The existing political resolutions and recommendations in the Andean region are being implemented, particularly those that protect the rights of migrants, refugees and victims of trafficking in women. The recommendations of the South American Plan for Human Development are given particular weight.
The European Union is financing the project under EuropeAid’s thematic programme of cooperation with third countries in the areas of migration and asylum in a combined financing arrangement with BMZ. GIZ is responsible for carrying out the project and is working with a consortium of three non-governmental organisations comprising CODHES (Consultoría para los Derechos Humanos de los Desplazados), Fundación Esperanza and Servicio Jesuita a Refugiados de Ecuador (SJR). GIZ and the NGOs are also working closely with the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR), the ombudsman for human rights in Ecuador and local governments.
The project is enabling the authorities in Ecuador and Colombia to perform better in protecting the rights of migrant workers. It is also improving Colombian refugees’ access to public services and protecting the rights of victims of human trafficking more effectively. The project is encouraging bilateral dialogue between state institutions and the population, with those affected being given social and legal support. It is also helping children and youths from migrant and refugee families to become integrated into the school system. Migrants, refugees and those affected by human trafficking are able to get information about their rights.
The project is supporting a network of journalists as a means of promoting peace in the border region. These journalists are reporting in the media about the rights of those affected. Governmental offices in both countries are being advised on how to devise efficient measures for preventing and combating human trafficking. The project is also lending support to the planned regional conference on the protection of refugees and displaced persons under humanitarian law.