5 Reasons Why Ecuador Should Send Assange to Sweden

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Ecuador recently said it would seek new talks about extraditing Julian Assange, founder and editor-in-chief of WikiLeaks, to Sweden, where he will face questionings over allegations of sexual assault. Five points about why he should be extradited to Sweden, an agreement with Sweden could help Ecuador’s popularity in gender-based questions and why international tourism is so important for conservation and major tour operators, such as Gulliver Expeditions.

Ecuador Culture

Ecuador Culture

Stabilising Ecuador's tourism and conservation

On June 19 in 2012 Julian Assange has sought refuge at the Embassy of Ecuador in London and has received political asylum from Ecuador’s president Correa. Assange feared to be deported to Sweden, where he will face questionings over claims of sexual assault, because of a possible extradition to the US, due to his whistle-blowing activities. Since the point of a political asylum, the relations between Ecuador and the UK have been on ice.

But, the UK and other European countries being a big part in Ecuador’s tourism and export market, it is of big importance to maintain a solid business relationship. Ecuador’s main tour operators, such as Gulliver Expeditions, had to observe a significant decrease of 20% in sales of Ecuador tours within the UK market in the past six months.

And thus the first reason is to recover the diplomatic relations between the involved countries and as a consequence safe Ecuador’s most important export product: tourism.

Reason number two
The costs and hassles of keeping the world’s most infamous whistle-blower in safety of the Ecuadorian embassy are exploding. Not only the costs of the daily life, which has been going on for 9 months already, but also the enormous amount of money, the British government has had to invest. According to Scotland Yard, police officers have been stationed around the clock to watch the embassy since June last year, which has cost around £3 million until now. A spokesman at the Ecuadorian embassy said: "The Ecuadorian government is concerned by the significant cost to the taxpayers of London of policing the embassy at the present time.”

Reason number three
Ecuador wants to fight for gender equality and women’s rights, as the Social Institution & Gender Index (SIGI) ranked Ecuador in 2012 on place 19 out of 86. SIGI states, although sexual harassment is against the law, local women’s rights organisations report that it occurs frequently in Ecuadorian workplaces and schools.

Regarding the fact, that Assange faces charges of sexual assault against two women in Sweden, which he strongly denies, Ecuador’s government giving him asylum could be destructive in receiving the women’s support.

Reason number four
It shouldn’t be in the hand of Ecuador’s embassy to judge Assange. By not letting him extradited to Sweden, it could be understood as an act of protection from the Swedish law. Assange needs to face the questions about the accusations of sexual assaults, even if he denies them strongly and the Swedish court should deal his case justly.

His fear of a possible extradition to the US is unfounded, according to Stefan Lindskog, a justice of the Supreme Court of Sweden, its highest court. Lindskog stated during a speech, that an extradition from Sweden to the US “may not be granted for military or political offences”. Allegations of conspiracy and publishing secret national defence information clearly show a military and political taste.

Reason number 5
Last but not least, a good cooperation between countries plays a main role in the world’s coexistence and economy. The global market, peace or war, development of a country and even worldwide tourism are dependent on stable diplomatic relations between governments. Despite Ecuador’s small role in the global market, it is a major global player in worldwide tourism. In 2010 an impressive number of 1,047,000 international tourists were reported entering Ecuador. Parts of Ecuador, like the fragile Galapagos Islands, are even dependent on touristic relations, as cruises to Galapagos are financing its important conservation.

So it shows the importance of building a strong relation between Ecuador, the US and the UK and therefore stabilising Ecuador’s tourism and conservation.

About Gulliver Expeditions
Gulliver Expeditions, Quito based tour operator and agency, specializes in adventure travel Ecuador, including climbing and hiking tours in the Avenue of the Volcanoes and the highlands. They also offer cultural sightseeing, biking tours, horseback riding, jungle trips and once-in-a-lifetime cruises to the Galapagos Islands, as well as tailor-made itineraries for trips across the whole country.

Every one of Gulliver's Ecuador tours intergrates high-quality, personalized service, competitive prices, high standards in safety procedures as well as professional, qualified guides.

For more information, contact Gulliver on http://www.gulliver.com.ec or mail to info(at)gulliver(dot)com(dot)ec.

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Esteban Ludena
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