Panama: taking stock of progress in torture prevention measures

Monday, July 2, 2018

In June 2018, APT’s Latin America Office organised its last national dialogue on torture prevention in Panama before moving its regional operations back to Geneva. This was an opportunity for participants – authorities, prosecutors’ offices and oversight institutions, civil society organisations, academics and international organisations – to discuss the different measures that Panama has implemented to strengthen its criminal justice system and establish its National Preventive Mechanism (NPM).

The national dialogue was organised in the form of a roundtable discussion, enabling the participants – around 80 representatives of a wide range of institutions – to directly interact with the panellists. Opening the event, the President of the Mexican National Commission for Human Rights (NCHR), Luis Raúl González Pérez, gave an inspirational speech, sharing his institution’s experience in promoting and drafting Mexico´s new General Law on Torture. He encouraged Panama institutions and organisations to remain firm in the fight against torture and to build on each of the steps taken to achieve a country free from torture and ill-treatment.

During the roundtable discussion that took place between the judiciary, and the Ombudsperson’s Office of Panama and civil society, APT’s outgoing Secretary General, Mark Thomson stated: “I was truly impressed by our national partners and their in-depth understanding of the preventive approach to torture and ill-treatment. Challenges of course remain to make sure that no one face risks to be tortured or ill-treated, but I am convinced that our partners do have the capacity and potential to face them in a creative and doable manner.”

The dialogue took place at an interesting time for Panama, as the public process to select the National Director and Deputy Director of Panama’s NPM was completed a few days after the event. In the meantime, just a day after the roundtable discussion, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Panama announced that they would make the SPT report public.

For more on:

  • Our work in Panama, please click here;
  • The status of implementation of the OPCAT in Panama, please click here

(From right to left) The NCHR’s Executive Secretary, Consuelo de la Salud Olvera Treviño, and President, Luis Raúl González Pérez; APT’s Secretary General, Mark Thomson; Panama’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ Director International Organisations and Conferences, Guadalupe Rudy and the Chargé d’Affaires of the Swiss Embassy in Costa Rica, Alexandre Guyot.