Panama seeks help from the UN to face the increase in irregular migration

Photo: courtesy of the Presidency of Panama.
Editorial Dept. Voz de la Diaspora

President of Panama, Laurentino Cortizo expressed to the United Nations his concern about the growing flow of irregular migrants, especially Caribbean and African who cross the country en route to the United States, and asked governments to add support to a possible crisis in the region.

“Panama does its part. We appeal to the international community to do, ASAP, a joint effort, with coordinated strategies and resources to anticipate a regional humanitarian crisis of serious proportions”, affirmed the president during his participation in the 76th session of the General Assembly of the United Nations Organization (HIM). “This is everyone's responsibility”, he added.

Photo: courtesy of the Presidency of Panama.

Cortizo said that irregular migration is a historical and constant problem faced by many nations. “to which you can not be indifferent”.

So far from 2021, more of 80,000 irregular migrants have crossed Panamanian territory, exponential growth that worries, according to Cortizo.

“To understand the drama of the situation, Panama went from receiving 800 migrants in January this year, a 30,000 last month”, he said.

The president explained that migrants travel through several countries in difficult conditions before arriving in Panama, the only place where they receive temporary shelter and medical care despite the country's limited resources.
Panama faces a massive increase in the flow of migrants arriving from South America through the dangerous jungles of Darien bordering Colombia where they are exposed to the onslaught of nature., human trafficking and criminal attacks, according to survivor testimonies.

Hence, in previous weeks, the Panamanian Foreign Minister, Erika Mouynes called a meeting with the authorities of several countries in the region in search of a consensual solution to the increase in the flow of migrants after the opening of borders that remained closed for months as a result of the pandemic.

Panama also agreed for the first time with Colombia to establish a plan for the controlled flow of 500 people who can pass each day between the two countries to avoid exceeding the capacity of attention, However, in recent days international media have shown thousands waiting to pass from Necocli to the Colombian side.

Vaccination and climate change

In his speech to the UN Cortizo also reported on the strategy promoted by the country to face the coronavirus pandemic after ensuring that in the short term it would be close to achieving herd immunity since more than half of the population of 4.2 million people have received at least one dose of the vaccine.

Cortizo did not detail the estimated date to achieve the challenge, nor how much would be the percentage of vaccinated population that the country has set as a goal to achieve herd immunity, but he stressed that Panama acted with "foresight" and managed to contract enough vaccines.

“We are only weeks away from reaching herd immunity”, he said, However, he considered that worldwide access to vaccines needs to be improved so that all countries can overcome the pandemic.

“… The goal cannot be that some countries reach herd immunity, when the goal should be for us to achieve global immunity”, He held.

The Panamanian leader also alerted the governments to join efforts against climate change, and mentioned that the canal nation is one of the three countries in the world classified as "negative carbon".

In addition to that, he said that Panama is the Blue world leader in compliance with Initiative 30×30 What does it mean to protect the 30% of its oceans.