U.S. Under Secretary of State Strengthens Ties of Cooperation in Panama

23 November, 2021


The U.S. Under Secretary of State for Civilian Security, Democracy and Human Rights, Uzra Zeya, visited the southern border of Panama to learn about the situation of the migratory flow through Darien, in addition to following up on bilateral security, cooperation  and human rights protection  programs.   


During her two day official visit to Panama, Zeya visited Bajo Chiquito, along with a high-level delegation from the U.S. Embassy in Panama, composed of Stewart Tuttle, Chargé d'Affaires;  Marta Youth, Under Secretary  of the Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration (PRM); Emily Mendrala, Deputy Secretary of the Office of Western Hemisphere Affairs, who together with representatives of the Government of Panama and the International Organization for Migration (IOM), learned about the process of attention by the  Panamanian authorities to the flows of extra-regional  migrants in the Migrant Reception Stations (ERM) . 


Regarding support for Panama's efforts to face the migration crisis, Zeya stressed that with funds from the United States, IOM will be able to expand and improve  the  ERM of Lajas Blancas in Darien, and also announced that an additional aid of  20 million dollars will be given to Mexico and Central America to respond to the urgent needs of asylum seekers,  refugees and migrants in vulnerable conditions. 


For Zeya, "improving border security, protecting vulnerable populations and combating established criminal organizations that profit from smuggling and trafficking in persons, are responsibilities that we share and that require a regional approach, in addition to the definitive solution to reduce irregular migration in a sustainable way by working with civil society,  the private sector, governments and international partners to drive structural changes to fight corruption, improve security and promote inclusive economic growth across the region." 



She also indicated that since 2018, the U.S. State Department, through  IOM's Western Hemisphere Program,  has been strengthening government capacities to manage migration in a sustainable and humane manner. 


In this regard, Santiago Paz, IOM Chief of Mission in Panama, stressed that IOM strengthens the capacities of institutions that provide protection and assistance to migrants from a human rights perspective and promotes the development and implementation of strategies for the promotion of regular, orderly and safe migration, ensuring the adequate protection of the most vulnerable migrants.  



It is to be noted that Under Secretary Zeya led an official U.S. mission to Panama in a high-level meeting focused on security issues and also held meetings with representatives of IOM, international organizations and civil society to promote cross-sectoral collaboration on issues related to security, international protection and migration management. 


For more information, contact IOM Panama's communications team via iompanama@iom.int