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Colombian Refugees Face Discrimination in Ecuador: Report

January 26, 2012

Colombian refugees in Ecuador face discrimination and an uncertain future, according to accounts newly-published in Americas Quarterly.

But despite their hardships, the majority prefer to remain in the country rather than return to the violence which drove them from their homeland.

In one instance, Rosa Gonzalez, a refugee from western Colombia, was forced to flee after establishing a non-profit organization to provide daycare for women, the magazine reported.

Having turned down a $10,000 offer to hand over the foundation to neo-paramilitaries for money-laundering, she became a target for threats and fled feeling her family was in imminent danger.

Inside Ecuador the group caught up with her, assaulting her in front of her 9-year-old son and forcing her to move on again.

"He saw things he should never have to see," she said. "They beat me and raped me," she told AQ...

...Yet life in Ecuador is challenging, many struggle to find regular work and face discrimination and exploitation in the workplace. Gonzalez spoke of having to sell clothes to buy milk and bread, while her husband Javier was once paid $10 for fifteen days of work stuffing envelopes.

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