Panama Slams NGOs for Encouraging Illegal Migration

Panama’s government on Sunday accused international aid groups of encouraging illegal migration by handing out maps to help those crossing the treacherous Darien Gap jungle.

The comments come amid a spat between the government and medical charity Doctors Without Borders (MSF), which last month criticized a sharp rise in sexual violence against migrants making the dangerous trek on their way to the United States.

In response, the government suspended MSF’s humanitarian work in the jungle and accused it of failing to share data on alleged victims of sexual violence.

“International organizations give (migrants) maps on how to cross the jungle, knowing they are going to be raped, they are going to be robbed. It is extremely irresponsible,” said director of migration Samira Gozaine, in a video posted on X.

In late February, MSF reported an “extreme” level of brutality against migrants crossing the jungle and urged Panamanian authorities to redouble efforts to protect the most vulnerable people “on their territory.”

In just one week in February, the NGO said, it had treated 113 people, including nine children, who had been sexually assaulted by criminal groups operating in the lawless Darien Gap.

Continue reading at MSN

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