top of page
  • Writer's picturePanama Human Rights

Panamá: Human Rights, to know them and to defend them

Updated: Nov 28, 2019

By Génaro López / Source / The Dawn / On December 10, the Human Rights Day was commemorated, on the date in which the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly (1948).

Human rights are universal legal guarantees that protect individuals and groups against actions and omissions of the State that interfere with freedoms, fundamental rights and human dignity. Human rights are not bought or sold, they are conquered. Since its enactment, 67 years ago, a set of tools and mechanisms to ensure their primacy and deal with their violations have been developed.

In Panama, the balance pieces of evidence that human rights are being violated. Violations are manifested at various levels: attacks against social movements in the country and widespread violations of individual rights. Among others, the rights to create organizations and demonstrate peacefully are violated; as well as the rights to health and universal, public, free and quality education; the right to have adequate and decent housing; the right to decent and fair wages; to food; to a healthy environment; to personal development; to non-discrimination. In general terms, the right to life is violated.

There is no justice for the poor, the court ruling on the case against our comrade Al Smith Iromi, while the confessed murderer is free, is a clear manifestation of the rotten system and institutions that should ensure justice. Crimes against humanity are not adequately addressed, such as the slaughter of Bocas del Toro, San Felix and Columbus, which resulted in several dead and injured and hundreds arrested, without guaranteeing their right to an adequate defence. To date, these crimes and harassment against the population remain completely unpunished. Those who today use the issue of justice as a speech for the media remain silent on these abuses.

In specific terms, the population is subjected to the violation of their rights. Legal proceedings in labour matters evidence faults that violate the principle of favouring the most vulnerable ones: workers. Instead, the ‘legal security of companies’ is favoured. Villagers are subjected to residential projects that do not meet technical standards (environmental, architectural and engineering), therefore under a business logic, business sectors and government have perceived that ‘residential projects of social interest’ means’ disposable homes ‘.

Death caused by neoliberal health policies is another example of human right violations, including cases of bacteria in hospital complexes, people poisoned with Diethylene glycol, death of new-borns. These sectors are still claiming for justice.

Women and girls continue to be violated. Institutionally, proposals have not been effective in many cases they are only for the media. Femicides are examples of violence to women’s rights; the case of the students of the National Institute is a clear manifestation of institutional harassment of youth.

Racial discrimination becomes an increasingly common policy by those who are supposed to ensure the protection of the people, the National Police, and it is mainly directed against workers, indigenous and African descent.

Unpopular policies continue, corruption eats all public spheres, while impunity grows facing a selective justice. Amid this, the Panamanian social movements and popular leaders still encounter policy of criminalization of social protest.

In this scenario, we must realize that the Declaration of Human Rights and its comprehensive concept was the result of the struggle that the oppressed masses launched. Compliance with these rules demands that the current generation knows and defends them. For this, we need organizational capacity and mobilization to defend our individual, political, economic, social, cultural and environmental rights.


5 views0 comments
bottom of page