News | Economy | Culture | Opinion | Lifestyle | Science | Outdoors
Noticias | Opiniones | Calendar | Archive | Unclassified Ads | Home

Volume 14, Number 7
April 6 - 19, 2008


news

Also in this section:
Torrijos ran for president as undisclosed foreign agent
Dam protesters persevere, meet president
Arguments over private concessions on Cinta Costera
Dictatorship victim's kin and Tico video crew busted under nonexistent law
Panama News Briefs

Alternative report on human rights situation
US State Department report on human rights in Panama
Urrego says money laundering bust was ploy to grab his island property
Panama City mayor's race may get crowded
Navarro, Herrera in presidential race
Mitchell does damage control as statute of limitations affects bankruptcy fraud cases
Previous Panama News Briefs

Bush administration supports shootings of unarmed SUNTRACS workers, RP human rights groups issue dissenting reports, Torrijos administration silent
Human rights reports from different planets
by Eric Jackson

Acording to the US State Department's report on human rights in Panama in 2007, "[t]here were no reports that the government or its agents committed arbitrary or unlawful killings."

That would come as news to the Public Ministry, given that the National Police's Captian Clemente Buitrago and Lieutenant Cleofo González are are currently facing murder charges for the October 9 beating death of La Joya Penitientiary inmate Daniel Vela Rodríguez, as an extrajudicial punishment for an escape attempt.

"It's not true," law professor Miguel Antonio Bernal said of the State Department's assertion. "Look at all the murders in the prisons and jails. Look at the police shooting [of unarmed SUNTRACS activist Luiyi Arg
üelles] on Isla Viveros last August." (Two police officers are under investigation but have not been formally charged in that case.)

The Torrijos administration was profuse in its gratitude to the US government. A press release from the presidential palace said that it "appreciated" that the State Department human rights report "recognized the advances made by Panama in this important matter."

The Bush administration has taken the United States well along the road to international pariah status with its open embrace of waterboarding torture, but to attribute US support for the beating to death of unruly prison inmates and the shooting of militant labor activists solely as a function of solidarity among human rights violators would be to ignore a lot of history. When an administration of any stripe is trying to persuade a reluctant US Congress to pass something with respect to Panama, it will deny human rights problems here. For example, Jimmy Carter denied the dozens of disappearances by the dictatorship to get the Panama Canal Treaties approved. And now the Bush administration wants ratification of a free trade deal with Panama.

Meanwhile, a week after the US report was released the
Red de Derechos Humanos - Panama (Human Rights Network - Panama) issued a "shadow report" on human rights. Not, the 33-group coalition said, to criticize governments, but because the United Nations Human Rights Committee meetings were coming up the following week (March 24 and 25) and, although by treaty Panama is committed to issuing periodic human rights reports to the UN, it hasn't done so since 1992.

The coalition, which includes the Catholic Church's Justice and Peace Commission, criticized six broad areas of human rights abuses:
  • Discrimination against immigrants, people with dissident political views, the disabled and those who are infected with HIV;

  • A lack of resources allocated for the enforcement of laws protecting human rights;

  • The displacement of people from their homes, particularly to make way for tourist developments, hydroelectric dams or mining projects;

  • A prison system in which there is overcrowding, police brutality, poor health care and non-compliance with rules designed to combat abuses;

  • The government's refusal to normalize the status of refugees, including some who have been here 15 or more years; and

  • Violations of the rights of minors.

Meanwhile another human rights group that doesn't get along particularly well with the Catholic Church was issuing a separate critique. The New Men and Women's Association of Panama (AHMNP), Panama's principal gay and lesbian rights group, complained that the Torrijos administration had understated the rate of HIV infection in this country in a statement to the Global Fund. This, the AHMNP argued, leads to the assumption by international aid organizations that "Panama is a middle class country that needs no outside help," when the reality is that much of the HIV-positive population "is unattended by health authorities."







Also in this section:
Torrijos ran for president as undisclosed foreign agent
Dam protesters persevere, meet president
Arguments over private concessions on Cinta Costera
Dictatorship victim's kin and Tico video crew busted under nonexistent law
Panama News Briefs

Alternative report on human rights situation
US State Department report on human rights in Panama
Urrego says money laundering bust was ploy to grab his island property
Panama City mayor's race may get crowded
Navarro, Herrera in presidential race
Mitchell does damage control as statute of limitations affects bankruptcy fraud cases
Previous Panama News Briefs

News | Economy | Culture | Opinion | Lifestyle | Science | Outdoors
Noticias | Opiniones | Calendar | Archive | Unclassified Ads | Home



Make the Executive Hotel your headquarters in Panama City --- http://ww.executivehotel-panama.com
Find the boat of your dreams through Evermarine --- http://www.evermarine.com


© 2008 by Eric Jackson
All Rights Reserved - Todos Derechos Reservados
Individual contributors retain the rights to their articles or photos

email: editor@thepanamanews.com or

e_l_jackson_malo@yahoo.com

Cell phone: (507) 6-632-6343

Mailing address:
Eric Jackson
att'n The Panama News
Apartado 0831-00927 Estafeta Paitilla
Panamá, República de Panamá