Migrant women suffer more attacks, especially in Darien jungle

Panama City, Jul 6 (EFE).- Women are victims of more attacks than men during the migratory journey, a reality that intensifies when crossing the Darien jungle, the natural border that separates Panama with Colombia and authorities consider among the Americas’ most dangerous.

Panama’s Women’s Minister Juana Herrera spoke of the situation during the inauguration in the Panamanian capital of the V Regional Congress of Women in the Context of Migration.

“Migration has a woman’s face: for the respect and integrity of their rights,” she said. “A woman who decides to undertake this dangerous journey, faces the dangers that the journey implies, since many mobilize while pregnant, travel with their daughters and sons, some have seen them die, have suffered assaults, have been victims of physical violence and sexual, among other types of abuse.”

“All these risks intensify when crossing the most dangerous jungle in the Americas,” said the minister in relation to the Darien trip, a journey that so far this year has been crossed by about 48,773 women and more than 18,000 girls.

In this jungle, she said, they must overcome rivers, “heavy vegetation, wild animals, keep their footing on paths full of mud, fatigue, heat, the humidity that prevails, armed groups and coyotes (…) for the promise of a better destiny.”

Panamanian authorities said this week that the number of migrants who have crossed the Darién jungle so far this year already exceeds 200,000, an unprecedented figure that multiplies by four the 49,452 who crossed this border in the first half of 2022.

This two-day congress is organized by member countries of the Regional Conference on Migration and the interim Presidency in charge of Panama, and has the support of the International Organization for Migration and the United Nations refugees agency among others.

“We highlight the importance and commitment that transit countries must have in providing access to basic health, food and security services, as well as guaranteeing non-discrimination and hypersexualization of migrant women and girls,” Herrera said.

Panama receives irregular travelers bound for North America at immigration stations near its southern border with Colombia and on the northern border with Costa Rica, where it offers healthcare and food, in a unique operation that involves a dozen international organizations. EFE


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