OJALA Member Trains Judges and Prosecutors in Ecuador

Despite the Covid 19 pandemic, OJALA member, Dr. Jhon Antón Sánchez (Instituto de Altos Estudios Nacionales, IAEN, Quito, Ecuador) provided training to operators of the Ecuadorian justice system (judges and prosecutors) on ethnoracial legal instruments, and on Afrodescendants’ enduring anti-black racism in Ecuador and Latin America

Preliminary research in Latin America has revealed that for the most part, white and white-mestizo operators of the justice systems (judges, prosecutors, public defenders, attorneys in general) know very little about the ethnoracial legal instruments in existence in their respective countries (see the special issue of Latin American and Caribbean Ethnic Studies (LACES) entitled “Justice for Afrodescendants in Latin America: Interrogating Ethnoracial Law,” vol. 14, no. 3, December 2019).

In Ecuador, many justice system operators have ideological biases and prejudices against Afro-Ecuadorians, and reproduce ordinary negative/racist stereotypes. In that way, all Afrodescendant men are looked at as criminal and social predators, while Afrodescendant women are hypersexualized in public, work, and educational spaces.  These stereotypes restrict Afrodescendants’ possibilities to enjoy their human rights, and their access to an effective judicial protection of their basic right to human dignity.

Faced with these prejudices and failures of the Ecuadorian justice system, and the demands of social movement organizations to the authority of the State Attorney General’s Office, the Directorate of Training and Missionary Strengthening of the State Attorney General’s Office approached Dr. John Antón Sánchez, Professor at the Instituto de Altos Estudios Nacionales-IAEN (Quito, Ecuador), and asked him to train and educate (mostly white and white-mestizo) judges and prosecutors about Afrodescendants’ collective rights and right to live lives free from discrimination.

Because of the Covid 19 pandemic, the trainings were carried out using the Zoom platform in May, June, July, and August 2020.