This report is part of CRIN's access to justice for children project, looking at the status of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) in national law, the status of children involved in legal proceedings, the legal means to challenge violations of children’s rights and the practical considerations involved in challenging violations.
Ecuador has ratified the CRC and it takes precedence over national law except where this is a conflict between the provisions of the CRC and the Constitution. There are no reported examples of instances whereby the Ecuadorian courts have used or applied the CRC, but the rights enshrined in the Constitution and in international human rights instruments, including the CRC, can be directly and immediately enforced before any judge or court, even if there is no law to regulate their exercise. Children may bring complaints before Ecuadorian courts either in their own name or through an intermediary to the same extent as adults and parents/guardians do not have to consent to children bringing cases. Class action lawsuits by groups of children are permitted and NGOs can bring actions to challenge violations in the courts, but government interference with NGO activities remains an ongoing problem. Ecuador’s judicial system can be subject to lengthy administrative and political delays and there is a possibility of political repercussions from a positive decision against the government, though the lack of judicial independence is the main issue of concern. Once domestic remedies have been exhausted, complaints can be brought before the Inter-American Commission and eventually the Inter-American Court of Human Rights.