Central Authority: The United States and the Ecuadorian Central Authorities have a strong and productive relationship that facilitates the resolution of abduction cases under the Convention. In 2018, the Department noted substantial improvement in information sharing and improved coordination with the ECA.
Voluntary Resolution: The Convention states that central authorities “shall take all appropriate measures to secure the voluntary return of the child or to bring about an amicable resolution of the issues.” In 2018, one abduction case was resolved through voluntary means.
Location: The United States and the Ecuadorian Central Authorities have a strong and productive relationship that facilitates the resolution of abduction cases under the Convention. The average time to locate a child was 59 days. As of December 31, 2018, there is one case where the Ecuadorian authorities remain unable to initially locate a child.
Judicial Authorities: The Ecuadorian judicial authorities issued a series of decisions that were not consistent with the Convention, and there were serious delays in deciding Convention cases, which contributed to a pattern of noncompliance. As a result, cases may be pending with the judiciary for over one year. Some of the language in a decision issued by the court raised concerns that defenses to return under the Convention may be interpreted too broadly, in contrast with the commonly held understanding that exceptions to return must be narrowly interpreted to maintain the efficacy of the Convention. Additionally, the judicial decision suggested that the enforcement of Ecuadorian domestic laws and the interpretation of other treaties took priority over implementation of the Convention.
Enforcement: Decisions in Convention cases in Ecuador were generally enforced in a timely manner. In some cases, Ecuadorian authorities reportedly encountered difficulties attempting to enforce judicial orders and/or locate children, either due to lack of authority or lack of clear procedures.
Access: In 2018, the U.S. Central Authority acted on a total of two open access cases under the Convention in Ecuador. Of these, one case was opened in 2018. This case has been filed with the Ecuadorian Central Authority. This case was filed in 2018. By December 31, 2018, both cases remained open.
Department Recommendations: The Department will continue intense engagement with the Ecuadorian authorities to address issues of concern.