San José, Jul 31 (EFE) .- The Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACHR) ordered the Panamanian State to protect health, life and provide health services without discrimination to the hundreds of migrants who are stranded and housed in shelters in conditions of overcrowding due to to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“To require the State of Panama to continue taking all appropriate measures to effectively protect the rights to health, personal integrity, and life of the people who are in the La Peñita and Lajas Blancas Immigration Reception Stations in the province of Darien,” indicates a resolution of precautionary measures released this Friday by the Inter-American Court.
In this sense, the court considered the requirements of “extreme gravity, urgency and irreparable damage” in this situation, for which reason it asked Panama “to reduce overcrowding to the lowest possible level.”
This with the aim of “respecting the recommended guidelines for social distancing to prevent the spread of the virus, especially taking into account people with risk factors, and including the possibility of examining alternative and community-based measures.”
The Court also required Panama to “ensure, immediately and effectively, access to essential health services without discrimination to all persons in the La Peñita and Lajas Blancas Immigration Reception Stations, including early detection and treatment of COVID-19 “.
The court emphasized that the difficulties of the current context require solidarity between States, international organizations and civil society to “provide an effective regional and global response to the challenges derived from the pandemic faced by people in human mobility.”
Therefore, the Court reported that it notified this resolution to the Secretary General of the Organization of American States, Luis Almagro, in order to promote dialogue and regional solutions.
Panama must present on September 1 a report on compliance with the resolution of the Inter-American Court.
At the end of last June there were a total of 1,674 people, most of them Haitians, in La Peñita, which has a capacity for 200 people, of which 468 were boys and girls.
Last April, the Panamanian State opened the Lajas Blancas center.
(c) EFE Agency