‘Somos lo Mismo’ Solidarity Campaign for Refugees, Migrants Launched in Panama

Date Publish: 
Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Panama City – UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) last week presented the #SomosLoMismo (We are the same) campaign, aiming to promote respect, solidarity, and empathy between Panamanians and foreigners.

Faced with the growing climate of tension in the public opinion at the regional and national level by the arrival of people from other countries, mainly from Venezuela, manifestations of intolerance, rejection, and stigmatization have been generated. For this reason, UNHCR and IOM in Panama presented the campaign last Saturday (8/12).

The campaign is composed of a series of videos and graphics that highlight how mobility humanizes us and is a growth opportunity for all the people involved in this process. The videos will be distributed through social networks with the hashtag #SomosLoMismo, and with the support of digital influencers who have joined the campaign.

"This is not my land, but here I made myself. Here I trained and trained my children,” said Carmen, a Colombian mother who is grateful to Panama and who shared her story at #SomosLoMismo.

"Panama has been and continues to be a place that welcomes refugees, migrants, and displaced persons. For many years, we have seen unparalleled solidarity and empathic actions by the Panamanian society," said Renee Cuijpers, Deputy Regional Representative of UNHCR in Panama.

 "We want to make a call to recognize that everyone, regardless of their nationality, wants to contribute to this country that has continuously opened the doors to those who need it the most," said Cuijpers.

"Panama has historically been a host country for those who seek to rebuild their lives. With this campaign we seek to reach the essence of what has characterized this great country that is known as the Bridge of the World, Heart of the Universe, "said Santiago Paz, IOM's Chief of Mission in Panama.

In Panama there are more than 10,000 refugees and applicants for refugee status. For the most part, refugees are from the Latin American continent, mainly from Colombia, although recently there has been an increase in applicants from Venezuelan, Salvadoran and Nicaraguan nationalities. According to numbers from the National Institute of Statistics and Census of Panama, there are approximately 422,000 migrants mostly from Colombia, Venezuela, and Nicaragua.

IOM's contribution to the campaign was possible thanks to funds provided by the US State Department Bureau for Population, Refugees and Migration (PRM).

For more information please contact Jorge Gallo at the IOM Regional Office for Central America, North America and the Caribbean, Tel: +506 2212-5352, Email: jgallo@iom.int