8 September 2023: Associated Press
A U.N. envoy urged Ecuador’s leaders Friday to boost enforcement of labor laws and end popular fuel subsidies as part of key policy changes needed alongside their continuing efforts to combat the drug-related crime that has undermined the country’s peaceful image.
The report issued Friday by the U.N. special rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights faulted the government for failing to crack down on slavery-like bonded labor, especially among minorities, and pointed to a lack of economic opportunity that has allowed criminal gangs to recruit members. It said money that goes to fuel subsidies should instead be spent on social programs.
“My message to the government is we need to treat insecurity as a problem of poverty and lack of economic opportunities,” Olivier De Schutter, the special rapporteur, told The Associated Press.