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Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Migrant organization criticizes Ecuador's xenophobic decree

QUITO, Jan. 23 (Xinhua) -- A migrant organization said Friday in a statement that the decree issued by Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa to demand Colombian citizens to prove themselves without judicial record while entering Ecuador is unconstitutional.

The Jesuit Service of Refugees and Migrants in Ecuador (SJMR) demanded the resignation of Ecuadorian Interior Minister, Fernando Bustamante, for his xenophobic declarations against the rights of the moving people, according to the statement.

Colombians could freely enter Ecuador till the beginning of last December. However, at present, they must present a certificate of penal record or the so-called "judicial record", issued by Colombian police.

The measure, according to Ecuadorian authorities, is to tackle the instability in the country caused by Colombians.

Under the decree, the judicial record is not requested from minors, legal refugees, plane passengers, government authorities and members of international organizations.

The measure has triggered response from Colombia, as its Foreign Minister Jaime Bermudez said it was discriminatory and stigmatizing and broke some of the treaties in the Andean Community.

The SJMR considered that it was necessary and urgent for the government to implement mechanism of migratory regulation, based on the new Constitution, which promotes the social integration of the immigrant people and full exercise of their rights.

Colombia and Ecuador have been keeping severe ties since March 1, 2008, when Colombia bombed a rebel camp located in Ecuador without notice, violating the Ecuadorian sovereignty.

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