Ecuador’s FM, Ricardo Patino. Statement on Assange Asylum at press conference19th June 2014 to mark 2yrs in Embassy

(Google Translate) FM Ricardo Patino’s speech on Assange, 19 June 2014

(Original Spanish document:

Speech by Minister for Foreign Affairs and Human Mobility, Ricardo Patiño

The June 19, 2012, exactly two years ago, journalist Julian Assange appeared at the Embassy of Ecuador in London, and requested the protection of the Ecuadorian State. He stated then he was being politically persecuted as a result of exercising his right to inform the public about relevant facts relating to serious violations of human rights in Iraq and elsewhere in the world.

Through a detailed case study, it was determined that there was a well-founded fear of persecution on political activities as a journalist. Ecuador is a signatory to several international instruments binding, among which include the Status of Refugees of 1951 and its 1967 Protocol, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights of 1967, the Convention against Torture 1984, as well as the American Convention on Human Rights of 1969 and the Caracas Convention on Diplomatic Asylum 1954. This commits our country to defending the human rights of persons; to protecting them against the policy are subject to prosecution, regardless of power that have trackers. It is not an option; is a must. But it is also a right which we as a country, according to all international instruments accepted by the countries.

On the basis of our principles and our responsibilities to international law, loyal to the tradition proudly protective of the right of asylum in our country and in our Latin America, the Ecuadorian government made the sovereign – and legal – decision to grant political asylum to citizen Julian Assange. Consequently, we request the pass, which should allow Assange to travel safely Ecuador.

On the other hand, from the beginning, the government wanted to be too faithful to the spirit of judicial cooperation between countries, so it has kept the door open for prosecutors in Sweden, so you can continue the preliminary investigation, interviewing Assange ; or through video conference, either through physical presence in our Swedish Embassy officials. The ability to collaborate with the Swedish authorities would extend Ecuadorian territory, if necessary. The interview below is perfectly under consideration, both the European Convention on Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters of 2000, and the Act itself Swedish Criminal Procedure, which opens this option, provided that the other state permits. In fact, Swedish authorities recently traveled to Poland to be an investigation into the death of 69 cows in the Swedish population Stjärnhov.

Swedish legislation, like the rest of the laws of the world respectful of human rights, establishing a universal principle, which is that of effective judicial protection. This principle, enshrined in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights of the United Nations, is clearly recognized in the same Swedish Criminal Procedure Act, which establishes the obligation of the prosecution to instruct trial without undue delay. Thus, it seeks to ensure access to justice plaintiffs, but was also designed to prevent people stay too long in a state of uncertainty about their fate. And, in case you are in custodial situation of freedom, to ensure that such deprivation is no longer than necessary. Two years later, the preliminary investigation is stalled, but the Office of Sweden has taken any of the mechanisms that, under the law, you have at your disposal for further investigation.

Meanwhile, the UK Government has reiterated its intention to comply with the commitments under the European arrest warrant, issued against Assange. He has also insisted that his country is not a signatory to the Caracas Convention on Diplomatic Asylum, which, however, it is obliged Ecuador.

Given this apparent legal impasse, our Government has sought from the outset, a solution compatible with the interests of the people involved, and consistent with legal rules and principles of international law concerning all countries involved.

First, the Government of Ecuador understands that the decision to give Mr. Assange the Kingdom of Sweden is part of the concept of judicial cooperation in criminal matters between the Member governing countries of the European Union. But the fact remains that paragraph 12 of the Framework Decision of the European Council of 13 June 2002 on the European arrest warrant and the surrender procedures between Member States, states that “This Framework Decision respects the rights fundamental and observes the principles recognized by Article 6 of the Treaty on European Union and reflected in the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, “adding that the application is” the surrender of a person against whom it has issued an order European arrest warrant if there are objective reasons to believe that the arrest warrant has been issued for the purpose of prosecuting or punishing a person on account of political opinion or that that person’s position may be prejudiced for any of these reasons. ” From this emerge two important legal implications:

Meanwhile, another year has passed.

Article 14 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948 states that “everyone has the right to seek and to enjoy it.” After two years of confinement of Julian Assange in a small embassy in central London, it is ironic that it was the UK that suggested the word “enjoy” in historical debates that led to the final draft of the Declaration of 48.

“Not only asylum,” then said the British delegates. “Enjoy the asylum they” insisted that put in the text. How angry would those British representatives today if they knew what their country is doing with Julian Assange.

The passage of time has not only exacerbated the lack of access to effective judicial protection, to the extent that – as I said before, each increasing procrastination is a case that keeps a person without freedom of movement. Failure to leave the Embassy deteriorating quality of life and physical health of Julian Assange. You imagine, for a moment, they are confined for a week at a closed space with no chance of being outdoors. Now, multiply that time by a hundred, and imagine the anguish of the inmate, his family, and their children. As a consequence, there is a responsibility to the infringement of the right of the journalist to enjoy freedom, and an adequate standard of living, as stipulated in Article 25 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (“Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for himself and his family, health and wellness, (…), medical care and necessary social services “). Moreover; of complex care needed in a serious situation, Assange could end up paying with life the service rendered to humanity; the audacity to open the eyes of all of us, to a reality – to a crime-we was hidden for so long.

Now, I ask you to pay attention to this information. Look you; in 1998, USA, UK, Sweden and Ecuador agreed to fully sponsor a statement to which today we are forced to appeal. Because the statements are not just for photos, or for easy applause; statements are agreed to comply. Let’s hear this Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations. Your article 9, 3, letter a) states that everyone has the right to “complain about the policies and actions of individual officials and governmental bodies with regard to violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms …”. Similarly, Article 12.3 states that “Everyone has the right to be protected effectively under national law in reacting against or opposing, through peaceful means, activities and acts, including those by omission, attributable to States that result in violations of the rights human rights and fundamental freedoms. ”

I call upon the States involved in this case; its leading authorities, that we act according to multiple binding instruments which I have quoted above, and of which we are part. Specifically, I call that address the universal principles that inspired them. I also call on the authorities to defend the UN Human Rights Council (Geneva, rapporteurs, etc..), To all human rights organizations, and the public in general to defend the rights of Julian Assange. In particular their right to disseminate relevant information to the public when human rights are violated, as a journalist, an advocate for human rights and citizenship, as well as their freedom.

I also address the major media. In particular, the daily El Pais, Le Monde, The Guardian, Der Spiegel and The New York Times, who took advantage of the unique information that Wikileaks organization provided them for publication, and get business revenues. But mostly, I mean the deafening silence which we have witnessed by the journalist community, with few exceptions. You, journalists who claim, with reason, the social function of journalism; underlining the importance of precisely public attacks and violations of human rights as a means to safeguard; you who often cite Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which states that “everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold not their opinions, receive and impart information and ideas and impart, regardless of frontiers, by any means of expression. ”

You, journalists, political persecution witness today against a militant in the cause of freedom of information; and they know it. They also know that this opens the way to that in the future, retaliation against those who make public these violations multiply. In your case, no warning of this avoidable future involves his companions betray those who suffered repression and death as a result of its commitment to the human species. You can not afford it – all of us, we can not allow, that these sacrifices have been in vain.

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