United Nations recognizes Panama's effort to serve migrants

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  • Sat, 02/16/2019 - 22:59
United Nations recognizes Panama's effort to serve migrants
  • EFE-Archivo

The United Nations System in Panama recognized this Saturday the effort of the national government to meet the humanitarian needs of migrants arriving from Colombia and invited the authorities to "maintain these actions that they extol the country's commitment to human rights and international law".

This recognition to Panama arises from the latest reports on the increase of mixed flows and movements of people of different nationalities to Puerto Obaldía and nearby communities in the province of Darién, bordering Colombia.

"The respect and protection of the rights of migrants is paramount, and applies to those who are within the national territory, whatever their nationality or immigration status, without any discrimination, in order to preserve their safety, physical integrity, well-being and dignity", the UN system in Panama said in a statement.

The delegations of the UN in Panama assure that this is a basic principle to achieve that, with the adoption of complementary actions, the migration is of benefit for all.

In the same way, it is recalled that if there are people with international protection needs, they have the right to access the asylum system to determine their refugee status and access the corresponding rights.

"From the United Nations System in Panama, we applaud the decision of the Panamanian government to work jointly with the Colombian authorities to ensure that these mixed movements of people occur in a safe, orderly and regular manner, and in compliance with international law", says the statement.

The UN system emphasizes that it is attentive to support the government of Panama in the proper management of the challenges arising from these movements of people through its specialized agencies such as the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the Office of the High Commissioner of the United Nations for Refugees (UNHCR), the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) and the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), among others.

Last weekend some 720 migrants seeking to reach the United States were intercepted by the Panamanian authorities in the Darién jungle and taken to a small shelter in the coastal town of Puerto Obaldía.

According to the Panamanian authorities, 57% of these stranded migrants are of Cuban nationality, while the rest come from countries such as Haiti, Cameroon, Ghana, Eritrea and Ethiopia.

The massive arrival of Cubans in 2015 and the closure of borders that Nicaragua ordered led to an unprecedented humanitarian crisis in both Panama and Costa Rica.

The migratory wave was considered as a consequence of the melting of relations between Cuba and the United States and the end of the migratory benefits for the islanders in the North American country.


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