Position Paper: Discriminatory Effects of the Ecuadorian Refugee I.D. System

Ecuador (orthographic projection)This position paper analyses the discriminatory effects of the dual I.D. system for refugees and asylum seekers on the one hand and citizens and non-nationals on the other.  Given that the refugee I.D. are visually distinguishable from the non-refugee I.D. and that the number assigned to refugees are often incompatible with the national I.D. system, Ecuador’s maintenance of such an system results in the exacerbation of discrimination by private actors in the areas of housing and employment, amongst others.  Furthermore, it leads to discrimination in the provision of health and other social services, education, and even makes refugees clearer targets for police brutality, harassment, and creates obstacles to access to judicial remedies.

In accordance with international legal standards on discrimination, Ecuador may be held liable for violation the principle of non-discrimination based on a discriminatory impact theory, as well as direct discrimination by state officials. The position paper concludes that in order to comply with its international obligations Ecuador must reform its national I.D. system, create I.D. that are visually identical (although they can contain biometric and other data that appropriate government agencies ay have access to), and institute a public relations campaign to educate the public on the rights of refugees and the principle of non-discrimination.

This paper, prepared on behalf of Asylum Access Ecuador, will be signed by various civil society organizations in Ecuador and will serve as the centerpiece of civil society advocacy efforts before the Ecuadorian government in efforts to reform the national I.D. system. While the original version was prepared in English, the final version was presented to Ecuadorian civil society and the public in Spanish.