Monday 25 September 2023

Panama claims that Colombia “does not want to collaborate” with the migration crisis in the Darien

Authorities of Costa Rica are "requesting to take some kind of measures" aimed at reducing migratory flow at its border"

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Q24N – Panama claimed last Friday that Colombia “does not want to collaborate with the traffic” of irregular migrants for the dangerous jungle of the Darién, the natural border between the two countries, to guarantee an “orderly, safe and regular” migration that allows to end the humanitarian crisis and security that involves this growing flow.

The Darién Gap (Tapón del Darién in Spanish) is a geographic region in the Isthmus of Darien or Isthmus of Panama connecting the North and South American continents within Central America, consisting of a large watershed, forest, and mountains in Panama’s Darién Province and the northern portion of Colombia’s Chocó Department.

Colombia “does not want to collaborate with closing the traffic, with minimizing traffic, is not doing it,” said the director of the National Migration Service of Panama (SNM), Samira Gozaine, who stressed that in what is going of the year “more than 260,000” migrants have crossed the jungle to North America, a record figure, which already exceeds the total of the entire 2022.

Gozaine said that after the announcement of the United States that several governments, including the Colombian, will cooperate to handle and reduce the flow of irregular migrants to North America, Colombia is letting the jungle “to more people.”

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“Then, the problem is passing to the region, to Panama. We have not even achieved correct information because we have also asked from the humanitarian point of view that we are informed of how many people come,” added the migration director.

Thus, Panama has received “in recent days 2,600 – 2,700 – 2,800 people per day in the flow of the Darien,” said the official, who stressed that only last July “more than 55,000 people entered” migrants in transit to the country.

In Gozaine’s opinion, unfortunately, “irregular migration by the Darién” is a business for organized groups that are found on the Colombian side (…) as migrants pay US$1,000″ to cross the jungle.

Gozaine said that “Panama is the only country that invests effort and money in attending to this population that arrives almost dying to Darién.”

To the other countries where these “do not reach these conditions,” Panama has invested “more than US$65 million dollars” in the food and health assistance that offers migrants for several years, he said.

“No country wants to invest in these people,” he added

Concern for the situation in Costa Rica

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Gozaine also expressed concern because the authorities of Costa Rica are “requesting to take some kind of measures” aimed at reducing migratory flow at its border, which would generate an agglomeration in Panamanian territory “which Panama now cannot handle.”

“They (the Costa Ricans) have not told us a specific figure of daily crosses, we have received communications from their Foreign Ministry through our Foreign Ministry that they are requesting to take some kind of measures,” said the director of Migration.

He also warned that “businessmen who have their business on the side of Costa Rica are going to strike next Monday”, because migrants have become a health risk, which can complicate the situation.

“We call on international organizations that protect the human rights of migrants so that they also involve protecting the human rights of people in the reception areas (…) are being affected by the garbage that leave lying in the streets and for the fact that these people are doing their need anywhere, regardless of the consequences of health that can bring to the population,” said Gozaine.

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