Child Soldiers Global Report 2008 - Panama
|Publisher||Child Soldiers International|
|Publication Date||20 May 2008|
|Cite as||Child Soldiers International, Child Soldiers Global Report 2008 - Panama, 20 May 2008, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/486cb12341.html [accessed 23 May 2013]|
Population: 3.2 million (1.2 million under 18)
Government Armed Forces: no armed forces
Compulsary Recruitment Age: not applicable
Voluntary Recruitment Age: not applicable
Voting Age: 18
Optional Protocol: ratified 8 August 2001
Other Treaties: GC AP I, GC AP II, CRC, ILO 138, ILO 182, ICC
There were no armed forces. The minimum age for recruitment to the police was 18, but cadets could enter police training at 17.
National recruitment legislation and practice
Since the abolition of the armed forces in 1990, security and law enforcement had been the responsibility of the police and the National Air and Maritime Services under the control of the Ministry of Government and Justice.1 Police cadets received instruction at the Police Academy, the Police Training and Specialization Centre, and the Superior Studies Centre. Candidates for the Police Academy had to be aged 18-25 and have three years' secondary education. Candidates for the Superior Studies Centre had to be aged 17-22 and single, and to have completed secondary-school.2
Every month hundreds of Colombians, including children, sought asylum in Panama from violence and recruitment by armed opposition groups in Colombia; large numbers were turned away.3 An estimated 200 were given refugee status.4 A further 900 were given temporary protection on humanitarian grounds, but humanitarian organizations criticized their lack both of freedom to work and of freedom of movement.5 In September 2007 the National Refugee Office (Oficina Nacional para la Atención de los Refugiados, ONPAR) announced that over 400 refugees living in the country for more than 15 years would be granted permanent residency permits, and that ONPAR was establishing a commission to look at the situation of more than 800 displaced Colombians, including those who might wish to opt for voluntary repatriation, in the border province of Darién.6
In June 2004 the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child recommended that, with regard to Colombians under temporary protection, Panama facilitate the naturalization of their children born in Panama, and revise its practice of restricting their freedom of movement, especially in the case of young people. The Committee also called on Panama, in those cases where families could be deported without breaching international human rights or refugee law, to avoid separating children from their parents.7
1 Facultad Latinoamericana de Ciencias Sociales (FLACSO), Programa Seguridad y Ciudadanía, Reporte del Sector Seguridad en América Latina y el Caribe, Informe Nacional: Panama, August 2006, www.flacso.cl.
5 UN news service, "Panamá otorga estatus de refugiados a 42 indígenas colombianos, reporta ACNUR", 15 December 2006, www.un.org/spanish/News; Jesuit Refugee Service, "Panamá: la legislación para los refugiados no se adapta a la ley internacional", 5 February 2007.
6 Jesuit Refugee Service, "Panama: some refugees get rights, others must wait", 14 September 2007.
7 UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, Consideration of second periodic report submitted by Panama, Concluding observations, UN Doc. CRC/C/15/Add.233, 30 June 2004.