IACHR gathers evidence on possible human rights violations against recyclers in Cerro Patacón

The constant complaints about alleged violations of Human Rights to the hundreds of grassroots recyclers who work in Cerro Patacón were heard by a technical commission of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights that went to the landfill in order to document and gather evidence and testimonies about these complaints.

The technical commission made up of international experts Soledad García Muñoz (Arg), special rapporteur, Paula Mora (Col) and Daniel Noroña (Mex), both specialists in Human Rights, was able to verify the subhuman conditions in which hundreds of recyclers work. in Cerro Patacón, both in the recycling warehouse and in the so-called “shooting front”.

These personnel reaffirmed their recurring complaint for the breach of contract 489 between the Panamanian State and the Urbalia SA company, which ended on March 26, 2023, leaving the recycling warehouse in a condition of collapse; work area and economic engine on which hundreds of families depend in Cerro Patacón and its surroundings.

In the same way, the recyclers shared before the technical commission of the IACHR, the growing concern for the fate of their trade, after for 15 years they have exhausted all means of dialogue and rapprochement with the Panamanian government, until the march carried out on March 27, 2023 towards the Presidency of the Republic. Since then, the Cleaning Authority, assigned at that time to address the issue, has repeatedly failed to comply with the commitments it acquired with the recyclers to guarantee the trade and the adequacy of their work areas.

These breaches by the cleaning authority have not only led to arbitrary alterations to work hours, but also police persecution and harassment both in the recycling warehouse and in the “firing front”, a situation that reached a critical moment. on April 10, 2023 during a brutal police repression that left recyclers and residents of Cerro Patacón affected.

The leaders of the National Movement of Recyclers of Panama (MNRP) who accompanied the technical commission of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), presented to them the magnitude of the problem that is not only limited to the effects on recyclers of Cerro Patacón, but to all and all who exercise this profession at a national level. This in view of the non-recognition and dignification by the Panamanian State of the trade of the recycler and recycler in Panama.

In addition to the above, the MNRP expresses its concern for keeping grassroots recyclers excluded from the decisions that will define the fate of the Cerro Patacón sanitary landfill, their workplace, as well as the fate of the recycling warehouse that recently It has been devoured by a suspicious fire.

The National Movement of Recyclers of Panama remains alert and vigilant in the face of events that impact access to the fundamental rights of our colleagues. We appreciate the international solidarity of organizations, collectives, unions and recycler movements from other countries that have expressed their concern and support for our colleagues in Panama.

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