Cortizo passes law that creates the System of Guarantees and Comprehensive Protection of the Rights of Children and Adolescents

President Laurentino Cortizo, sanctioned Law 285 that creates the System of Guarantees and Comprehensive Protection of the Rights of Children and Adolescents, and dictates other provisions.

The initiative creates public policies that seek to protect and guarantee the human rights of children and adolescents in Panama, establishing parameters for the emotional, physical, mental and social care of minors.

The law establishes the reorganization of the competent institutions to guarantee, according to their age and maturity, the exercise and full, effective and permanent enjoyment of the recognized rights of children.

The president declared that “this new law raises our standards of attention to the rights of children and adolescents, to promote their growth and comprehensive development within the family, community and social sphere.”

He explained that the legal norm represents an important contribution to the State policy that is developed to protect children and adolescents.

He added that the National Government promotes a constant dialogue between institutions and civil society, with the purpose of establishing a roadmap that leads to a systemic change in the protection of children’s rights.

Cortizo pointed out that this law “also contributes to the construction of the legal framework that provides mechanisms for the implementation and monitoring of the commitments made by the Panamanian State, such as those of the 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals.”

For her part, the Minister of Social Development, María Inés Castillo, stated that the great value of the Comprehensive Protection System “is to articulate the existing laws, plans and policies, aligning all the institutions that have responsibility in this matter in a joint vision.” .

In this sense, more than 15 public entities, whose governing responsibility corresponds to the Ministry of Social Development (Mides), with the contribution of society and the private sector, will supervise that children receive emotional, health, social care, education, security, and other rights.

The regulations establish that, without any distinction, they will have the right to specialized protection against any violation or threat to their physical, mental, psychological and moral integrity that threatens their full development.

In addition, when children and adolescents are victims of all forms of sexual abuse or exploitation, it will be the duty of the State to ensure the provision of specialized medical services, through trained professionals, fundamentally dedicated to preventive, curative and recovery care.

It also seeks to guarantee the right to exercise their freedom of expression in all areas of daily life, mainly in the family, community and school, and also as users of all public services.

Likewise, the law typifies that it is an absolute duty and obligation of all people to communicate by any means, within a term not exceeding twenty-four hours, the threat or violation of the rights of children or adolescents and to provide the authorities with data that allows them to be located, without the identification of the informant being necessary.

With the sanction of this law, President Cortizo fulfills the commitment he made in 2019 as a presidential candidate, when he signed the Pact for Children and Adolescents to provide minors with access to comprehensive health, quality education, live without poverty, grow without violence and the creation of laws that guarantee their rights.

The law that creates the System of Guarantees and Comprehensive Protection of the Rights of Infancy, Childhood and Adolescence was approved unanimously in the National Assembly on January 12. After this sanction, once it is published in the Official Gazette, it will be the law of the Republic.

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