Panama’s national mechanism to prevent torture now operational

Monday, October 1, 2018

In September 2018, Panama became the 13th State in Latin America to have an operational National Preventive Mechanism (NPM), following the official designation of the NPM’s Director and Deputy Director. This is a major step for Panama in preventing torture and other ill-treatment.

On 30 August 2018, the Selecting Committee – composed of three State representatives (from the Executive, the Legislative and the Judiciary) and two civil society representatives – appointed the first NPM Director, Fernando Wing, and the first Deputy Director, Karla Pinder, for a five-year mandate, renewable once. Mr Wing and Ms Pinder will lead the new National Direction within the Ombudsperson Office, created to act as the NPM.

As foreseen by the 2017 NPM law, their designation was conducted after a public, thorough and transparent selection process. Following a first public call for candidacies declared void due to the low number of candidates, activities to raise awareness on the nature of the NPM work generated a stronger interest amongst national experts. As a result, 31 professionals presented their candidacies to the second selection round, of which 10 were selected for public hearings in August 2018.

This appointment follows two important milestones: the public disclosure of the report of the first visit of the Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture (SPT) to Panama; and the publication of the implementing decree of the NPM legislation in August 2018 – drafted by the Ombudsperson’s Office and representatives of local civil society organisations with APT support.

"We warmly welcome this major development in Panama and congratulate all sectors who have been involved and committed towards torture prevention for the past 10 years,” said Veronica Filippeschi, APT’s Americas Programme Officer. “Although further steps are still required for the NPM to be fully operational, including the establishment of the NGO Consultative Council of the NPM and the selection of the NPM staff, we are convinced that conditions are met for the NPM to start its work soon. We remain committed to supporting the first steps of the NPM, and we know that they will also benefit from the experiences of all the other Latin American NPMs.”

For more information on:

  • Our work in Panama, please click here
  • Panama's implementation of the Optional Protocol to the UN Convention against Torture (OPCAT), please access our OPCAT Database