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Panama Child Rights Efforts Get UN “F” Grade

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Panama  child rights efforts get UN  “F” grade

Panama gets an earful
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PANAMA got a public reprimand from the United Nations (UN) in Geneva, Switzerland for its failure to act on the rights of the child, for corruption diverting funds and sloppiness in imposing the issue on the public agenda.

The comments came from Jorge Cardona Llorens the Rapporteur of the  UN Committee on the Rights of the Child during the review of the legal and budgetary regulation of Panama and its adaptation to the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

The Panama,  delegation led by Yazmín Cárdenas Quintero,  Director of the Panama  Secretariat for Childhood, Adolescence and Family (Senniaf), delivered two outdated reports addressing the country’s progress. This type of survey is usually presented every two or three years, but there has been none from  Panama since 2008. The documents delivered assessed the progress in the implementation of the Child Rights  Convention in the last 10 years.

Although Cardona Llorens welcomed the progress made to guarantee children in Panama the right to enjoy a protected childhood, he highlighted failures such as the lack of a protocol regarding the sale of children, child prostitution and the use of children in pornography.

[ Reports in Newsroom Panama show child that pregnancies climb every year, with some mothers as young as 10 and in scores of cases the father is an adult. Attempts to introduce sex education to schools have failed]

“They have owed it to us for 14 years since, 2003,” said Cardona, who stressed that Panama is the only State in the region without a law that guarantees a protective vision of childhood.

“When are you going to bring out that law that has been going on for more than 10 years? What are the obstacles to approval? Where is that integral strategy they talk so much about? Will not they do it until they have the law? Cannot you go ahead? “asked the UN expert.

Another of the failures of the system that earned  UN recrimination for Panama was over public resources diverted because of corruption. “They detract resources for corruption and Panama has had many cases. What measures are adopted now to avoid this? asked Cardona.

Panama’s  representative Yazmín Cárdenas Quintero stated that her government has proposed

to “fight against corruption at all levels”.  And she promised more information before the closing session on Thursday.

The UN report on the adequacy of the reality of childhood in Panama will be made public on February



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There seems to be no independent audits or the equivalent of an Inspector General for the Panamanian Ministries or oversight in the awarding of government contracts.  Or perhaps I'm wrong, and the corruption extends into that process as well.

There is corruption in every government and no shortage of people of any nationality willing to embezzle, take kickbacks, or otherwise steal government funds. But there is a difference between countries in their willingness to tolerate it or take aggressive action to prevent it and punish it.

And if the corruption extends into the country's judiciary, reform is nearly impossible.  Overwhelming pressure from the citizens is the best hope. 

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