Ministry of Security and the United Nations System sign letter of intent to strengthen humanitarian response to migrants

On July 13, 2021, during a working tour of the migrant reception centres of the Province of Darién, the Ministry of Security and the United Nations System signed a letter of intent with the aim of strengthening and coordinating humanitarian response efforts for migrant populations, especially those located in the Migrant Reception Centres in Chiriquí and Darién.

The letter of intent signed between Juan Manuel Pino, Minister of Security, and Cristian Munduate, the Resident Coordinator of the United Nations System in Panama, will also allow for a better articulation of the technical assistance and resources provided by the various agencies, funds and programs to the State entities that are responsible for providing basic services to the population in a situation of human mobility, especially to children, adolescents and pregnant women in matters of health, water and sanitation, nutrition, among other issues.

The agreement was signed at the San Vicente Migrant Reception Station, Darién Province, with the participation of Dayra Carrizo, Deputy Foreign Minister of the Republic of Panama; Samira Gozaine, Director of the National Migration Service; Stewart Tuttle, Chief of Mission of the U.S. Embassy in Panama; and Santiago Paz, Head of the Panama Administrative Center and Chief of the Mission of the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in Panama.

The signing of the agreement followed a working tour to the Bajo Chiquito region, the first populated site to which migrants arrive after finishing their journey through the dense Darién jungle.

This working tour of the community of Bajo Chiquito was accompanied by national authorities as well as United Nations personnel. During the visit, the work carried out by the National Border Service in the care and registration of migrants was made known. Similarly, a conversation was held with the men and women leaders of the community who explained the involvement of the community to provide basic care and services to the people who arrive in Bajo Chiquito, and in turn, explained the most pressing needs of this indigenous community such as access to water services, sanitation, health, among others.

The Minister of Security indicated that the Government of the Republic of Panama is committed to providing care to migrant populations, explaining that it is hard work that will continue to be carried out due to the increase in people who continue to cross the border.

Cristian Munduate, United Nations Resident Coordinator in Panama, acknowledged the efforts of the Government of Panama, and congratulated the national authorities for their commitment to provide dignified humanitarian treatment to people in a situation of mobility. Likewise, she recognized the great work done by host communities, such as Bajo Chiquito.

"Over the past few years, IOM has accompanied the Government of the Republic of Panama in order to strengthen the spaces for inter-institutional cooperation in the province of Darién and to ensure safe, orderly and regular migration management, adhering to international standards, safeguarding the well-being of both migrants and host communities," said Santiago Paz, Head of the Panama Administrative Centre and Chief of IOM's Mission in Panama.

Also participating in this event were representatives of the country's security forces, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, personnel of the United Nations System, UNICEF, the International Organization for Migration, the U.S. Embassy in Panama, all establishing the joint commitment to provide adequate humanitarian treatment to the migrant population that comes from long distances, and that in Panama receives solidarity and care.

The implementation of the letter of intent by the United Nations Agencies, Funds and Programmes will be carried out by the Interagency Group of Human Mobility under the leadership of IOM and UNHCR, in which UNICEF, UNAIDS, UNDP, UNODC, UNFPA, PAHO/WHO, OHCHR and OCHA participate. Until July 2021, more than 46 thousand people have entered through the border between Panama and Colombia, among these more than 7 thousand are children and adolescents.

For more information, please contact Mayteé Zachrisson, IOM Panama Communications and Media Assistant, at

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