Marta Santos Pais urges Panama to guarantee the rights of children and to consolidate children’s protection from violence
Panama City, 10 July 2015 - On 9-10 July, during her official visit to Panama, SRSG Marta Santos Pais met with high level national authorities to discuss progress achieved by the Government of Panama to safeguard the rights of children and young people.
SRSG Santos Pais met with the Minister of Social Development, Alcibíades Vásquez, Deputy Minister of Government, Maria Luisa Romero, Deputy Minister of Multilateral Affairs and Cooperation, María Luisa Navarro, amongst other government officials in regards to the developments achieved in the juvenile justice system in the country, as well as in relation to the drafting process of a comprehensive national legal framework for the protection of children and adolescents.
During the discussions, Santos Pais emphasized that a Law for the Integral Protection of Children should recognize children’s human rights and fundamental freedoms, including a full prohibition of all forms of violence against children and adolescents. She added that the law should define the role and responsibilities of each of the institutions responsible for the protection of children, as well as, special support to children and their families.
The two-day visit, gave the opportunity to Marta Santos Pais to visit the Juvenile Detention Center in Pacora accompanied by Maria Luisa Romero, Deputy Minister of Government and Aida Oliver, UNICEF Representative in Panama. During the visit, changes introduced in the detention facility to ensure adequate living conditions for children and an effective social reintegration for adolescents in conflict with the law were shown.
Marta Santos Pais welcomed positive developments achieved in the juvenile justice system, nevertheless, she urged the authorities of Panama to continue to prioritize the establishment of alternative measures, as well as, programmes for the prevention of violence as an alternative to deprivation of liberty for adolescents in conflict with the law.
At each meeting, Marta Santos Pais emphasized the urgent need for Panama to adopt a Law for the Integral Protection of Children and Adolescents, and to ensure effective programmes and services on violence prevention and to support children and adolescents victims of incidents of violence. Marta Santos Pais added that it is essential that the country continues its efforts to strengthening professional capacities of those responsible for the realization of the rights of children and adolescents.