The inauguration of the high-level ministerial meeting on migration that takes place in Panama, with the collaboration of the United States, took place on the night of this Tuesday, April 19, at the Chancellery of the Republic.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Panama, Erika Mouynes, welcomed the delegations of the 20 countries participating in the meeting and emphasized that alternatives must be sought to achieve safe, orderly and humanitarian migration across our borders.
He stated that Panama received 2,800 daily migrants in August 2021, but to date there are 180. “That effective control is the result of a consensual regional strategy and that it must be permanent. We cannot waver because reality prevails and there will be more cataclysms and new conflicts, new routes will emerge, new cartels will be articulated and the response must be, once again, supportive and collaborative. This is how multilateralism is executed, because it is not about appearing in a photo with the flags behind, but with the support of the agreements to which we attend this meeting. We can’t just be spectators, we all have a responsibility and we have to do our part”.
For his part, the United States Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, who assured that he and the US Secretary of National Defense, Alejandro Mayorkas, are willing to address the migratory challenges with the participating countries. We all have our concerns and we bring them to this discussion, but we also have our responsibilities and want to share experiences and solutions, he added.
We are concerned about the well-being of thousands of people who make a dangerous journey that makes them vulnerable, there are children with uncertain futures and we have a shared responsibility to protect them, he said.
He assured that poverty, lack of opportunities, corruption and insecurity are the causes of this phenomenon that countries cannot face alone.
Blinken said that we must develop legal forms for the benefit of migrants, find places where they can have their home and strengthen the communities that receive migrants, ensuring that the support directly benefits these communities.
He added, we have a regional challenge, but also a global one, since we currently have the largest number of migrants in the world: 95 million people.
The Security Minister, Juan Manuel Pino said that the purpose of the high-level meeting is to guide the work of the participating States so that the context of human mobility is adequate.
“Irregular migration cannot be ignored, especially when our region is experiencing a sustained increase in migrants. More than 265,000 people have transited as part of the irregular flow from 2009 to date, crossing the most inhospitable jungle area between Panama and Colombia. The efforts require the articulation of joint strategies with sufficient resources throughout the region, both in the countries of origin, transit and destination,” he said.
Among those attending the meeting on migration are: the Vice President and Foreign Minister of Colombia, Marta Lucía Ramírez; the Foreign Minister of El Salvador, Alexandra Hill Tinoco; the Secretary of Foreign Relations Enrique Reina, of Honduras and the Secretary of Defense José Zelaya of that country; Ecuadorian Foreign Minister Juan Carlos Holguín. In addition, Carolina Ache Batlle, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Uruguay; Mario Búcaro, Foreign Minister of Guatemala and Maninder Sdhu, Parliamentary Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Canada, among others.
The work sessions will be distributed during the morning of this Wednesday, in groups separated by competencies, and the plenary session will be held in the afternoon, with a closing that provides conclusions and recommendations, the Panamanian Foreign Ministry previously reported.