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24 April 2006

The Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights and fundamental freedoms of indigenous people, Rodolfo Stavenhagen, will visit Ecuador from 25 April to 5 May.

Through this visit Mr. Stavenhagen aims to gain a better understanding of the human rights situation of indigenous peoples in Ecuador. The Special Rapporteur, along with relevant parties in the country, will be focusing particular attention on issues such as the main developments occurred since the adoption of the 1998 Constitution, which represented a landmark in the region on the recognition of the rights of indigenous peoples including their collective rights and to the challenges facing indigenous peoples to fully enjoy from the benefits of the mentioned reforms.

He will also be interested in learning, among others, about the access by indigenous peoples to the administration of justice services; the access to land and natural resources as well as the impact on the communities of the hydro-carbon industry activities or about the concerns expressed lately regarding the negotiations of the proposed free trade deal in the region.

The Special Rapporteur will focus in particular on the situation of indigenous women as well as on the challenges indigenous children and youth face in such areas as education, employment and health and to the social services in general.

The Special Rapporteur is expected to hold talks with indigenous representatives in the provinces of Pichincha, Imbabura, Esmeraldas, Chimborazo, Pastaza and Sucumbíos.

Mr. Stavenhagen is expected to meet in the capital Quito with President Alfredo Palacio González, authorities of the Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Health, Education, Agriculture, Foreign Trade, Welfare, Housing, Energy and Mining and Labour.

In Quito Mr. Stavenhagen will also meet, among others, with officials of the Constitutional Court, the Supreme Court, the National Congress and representatives of indigenous communities, NGOs and members of academia.

The Special Rapporteur will hold a press conference in Quito on 4 May. He will present a full report with his findings and recommendations in 2007.