U.S. Says Panama’s Rights Record is OK

March 14, 2008

Panama has made progress on human rights despite some setbacks, according to a report released this week by the U.S. State Department.

“Although the (Panamanian) government generally respects the human rights of its citizens, serious problems do exist in several areas,” Brian Naranjo, a political aide at the U.S. Embassy in Panama City, said Tuesday at a press conference.

The report cites such negatives as poor prison conditions, including police brutality against inmates, prolonged preventive detentions, and the corruption, inefficacy and political meddling in the justice system, as well as political manipulation in the media.

The U.S. report also underscored Panama’s child labor, discrimination and violence against women, as well as marginalization of indigenous people and ethnic minorities.

Naranjo said the report is based on assessments by U.S. officials and experts from nongovernmental organizations.

He noted that the government has implemented programs to train prison employees to prevent abuse as well as awareness-raising campaigns to stop child labor.

“We’re confident that these efforts will bring further progress and the United States is prepared to firmly support the advances in Panama on this issue,” Naranjo said.

 

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