Panama warns of increase in irregular child migrants

Panama warns of increase in irregular child migrants
Fecha de publicación: 
4 August 2023
Imagen principal: 

The number of more than 40,000 irregular migrant children who in the first six months of this year transited through the Panamanian Darien jungle is higher than in the whole of 2022, Unicef warned.
According to a press release from the regional office of the United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef), based in this capital, half of these children are under five years old.

In statements to the press, the director of this institution, Garry Conille, considered urgent the need to adopt more child-friendly national policies as well as solid humanitarian responses, including health services.

Unicef urged countries of origin, transit and destination in Latin America and the Caribbean to strengthen child protection systems, expanding access to rights-based, gender- and age-sensitive services during the journey and in host communities.

He also pointed out that governments must guarantee legal, orderly and safe migration channels and access to essential services such as education, protection and health.

The Deputy Director of the National Migration Service, María Isabel Saravia, recently informed that 248,901 irregular migrants have entered through the Darién border with Colombia on their way to the United States this year, surpassing the total at the end of 2022 (248,284).

Of that number, approximately 20% are minors, and at least 50% of this age group is five years old or younger.

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