The Ecuadorean government is proposing a law to give all migrants in the country legal status.
Ecuador is an important migrant destination and has Latin America’s largest refugee population, largely fueled by the conflict in neighboring Colombia.
In his weekly address, President Rafael Correa said, “The right to migrate is guaranteed in the rules. No human being will be considered illegal.”
As TeleSUR reports: The new legislation will cover all areas of migration, as well as visas, passports, and identity documents for foreigners.
According to Correa, the current law has been in place since 1979 and constitutes 18 different categories of visa, but with the new rules this will be reduced to four. “They guarantee rights to foreigners in Ecuador: asylum seekers, the stateless, among others,” he added. The government will also introduce programs to integrate foreigners into day-to-day Ecuadorean life.
Human rights groups that have criticized Correa for offering inadequate protection to vulnerable migrants will surely welcome the policy. In its country profile, Human Rights Watch has condemned Ecuador’s government for “asylum application procedures that do not provide rigorous safeguards that international standards require.”