Human rights groups are denouncing Ecuador's expulsion of dozens of Cubans seeking asylum in the U.S.

Around 150 Cubans were arrested last week in Ecuador's capital after setting up a camp outside the Mexican Embassy to demand a special humanitarian visa allowing them to travel to the U.S. border and from there seek asylum in the U.S.

Human Rights Watch said in a statement that the deportation of 75 asylum seekers likely violates international law requiring governments not to forcibly return refugees to places where their lives may be in danger.

Ecuador is a close ally of Cuba's government but lax visa requirements have made it an attractive way station for those fleeing communist rule.

Earlier this year Panama and Costa Rica flew thousands of Cuban asylum seekers to Mexico.