Forty-six Cubans were deported from Ecuador on Monday, the Ministry of Interior said in a press release, bringing to 75 the number of Cuban nationals returned to the communist island in the last week.

“A total of 31 men and 15 women who failed to justify their migratory status in the country" were put in a plane back to Cuba, the release read. "In addition, 29 Cubans were deported on Saturday, July 8 for failing to prove their legal status in Ecuador”.

The last group left Monday morning from Quito’s international airport. According to the release, during the process Ecuador ensured that “all human rights were respected and that every migrant was in good health.”

Daniela Salazar, a human rights lawyer, told journalists that the deportations “not only contradict the law, but also go against international legal principles that prohibit deportations back to countries where migrants’ lives and integrity are at risk. Deportations are unconstitutional.”

She said 22 Cubans were released and allowed to stay in Ecuador because they were able to prove their legal residency, because they are parents of Ecuadorian children, and because they will follow up with the required paperwork to obtain their legal residency in Ecuador.

Salazar also mentioned that on Monday Ecuadorian authorities will continue to determine whether other Cuban citizens still in Ecuador should be deported.

The deportations were carried out after three weeks of protests by a group of Cubans who camped near Mexico’s Embassy in Quito, asking the country to conduct a special operation to help them reach the United States, just as they did with Cubans staying in Costa Rica and Panama.

Thousands of Cubans have arrived in Ecuador in recent months, most of them with the intention of reaching the United States, and going on a dangerous trek through Colombia and Central America to do so.

Translated from The Associated Press.

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