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Ecuador and Colombia Forge Agreement for Individual Prisoner Repatriation

Published on February 19, 2024

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In a significant diplomatic move, high-level delegations from Ecuador and Colombia convened to address the pressing issue of repatriating convicted prisoners between the two nations.

The meeting, held in Bogotá on February 14th, saw a joint commitment from Colombian and Ecuadorian authorities to collaborate closely on the individual repatriation of prisoners, following President Daniel Noboa’s recent proposal to deport inmates to Colombia, sparking controversy.

Leading the Colombian delegation was Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs, Francisco Coy, while Ecuador was represented by Foreign Minister Gabriela Sommerfeld.

Following extensive discussions, both delegations issued a joint statement outlining their agreement. They pledged to “work together to expedite the process outlined in existing bilateral agreements concerning the individual repatriation of convicted individuals.”

Central to this agreement is the directive for authorities in both countries to handle repatriation requests promptly and efficiently, ensuring that nationals from either country serving sentences abroad can fulfill their obligations closer to home.

A Bilateral Agenda for Integration

The impetus for this meeting stemmed from President Noboa’s directive at the end of January, instructing Ecuador’s National Service for Comprehensive Attention to Persons Deprived of Liberty (SNAI) to initiate repatriation procedures for foreign prisoners. Noboa estimated that out of the 3,245 foreign inmates in Ecuadorian prisons, approximately 1,500 are Colombian.

Responding to this initiative, Vice Minister of Criminal Policy and Restorative Justice, Camilo Umaña, stated that Colombia is prepared to enhance its efforts within its capacity, particularly in light of the prison emergency declared on February 12th.

This diplomatic breakthrough coincided with the visit of Ecuadorian Foreign Minister Gabriela Sommerfeld to Bogotá, where she met with Colombian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Luis Gilberto Murillo. Their discussions centered on bolstering a robust binational agenda aimed at fostering greater integration between the two countries, thereby enhancing competitiveness and visibility in the region and globally, as highlighted by the Colombian Government.

The collaborative effort between Ecuador and Colombia reflects a shared commitment to address mutual challenges and strengthen ties for the benefit of both nations and their citizens.


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