The Bernard and Audre Rapoport Center for Human Rights and Justice

Partners for change at the intersection of academics and advocacy.

Afro-Descendant Property Rights in Ecuador

As part of a multi-year project on Afro-descendant and indigenous land rights in Latin America, the Rapoport Center for Human Rights and Justice coordinated a spring break fact-finding delegation to Ecuador. During their visit, members of the delegation travelled to Quito, Valle del Chota and Esmeraldas to meet with communities, NGO’s, academics, government officials and others.

The delegation, co-sponsored by the Robert S. Strauss Center for International Security and Law and the Lozano Long Institute of Latin American Studies, consisted of an interdisciplinary group of seven students from the University of Texas' School of Law, Lozano Long Institute for Latin American Studies, and the LBJ School of Public Affairs, along with Rapoport Center Director Karen Engle and Rapoport Center Post-Graduate Fellow Kaleema Al-Nur.  Serving as a consultant to the project was the Director of the UT Law School's Human Rights Clinic and former Deputy Secretary of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, Ariel Dulitzky.

The Center seeks to deepen its understanding of the history and development of Ecuador's formal protection of collective land titling for Afro-Ecuadorians, and the extent to which the state has conformed to its obligations under Ecuadorian and international law.  We will consider legal, institutional, political, cultural and other structural impediments to the full realization of these rights, and consider the extent to which the new constitutional referendum works to overcome them.  Finally, we will compare and contrast the institutional approaches and obstacles with those identified in previous reports on Colombia and Brazil.

Learn more about the 2009 spring break project. Read the press release, "UT Delegation Investigates Human Rights of Afro-Ecuadorians" (7 April 2009).


English: "Forgotten Territories, Unrealized Rights: Rural Afro-Ecuadorians and their Fight for Land, Equality, and Security"

Español: "Territorios olvidados, derechos incumplidos: Afroecuatorianos en áreas rurales y su lucha por tierra, igualdad y seguridad"

Executive Summary

English: Executive Summary and Key Recommendations

Español: Informe Ejecutivo y Recomendaciones Claves

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UT delegation members, including law students Chris Willett and Mario Franke (at left, standing) at a Community Meeting in Maldonado, Esmeraldas.