The United Nations Children's Fund (Unicef) expressed deep concern over the complaints of sexual abuse against children and adolescents in shelters in Panama financed and supervised by the State, and requested that the pertinent investigations be carried out as soon as possible.
The organization also urged the Executive and the Legislature to promote a law that guarantees the comprehensive protection of children and adolescents.
Unicef's pronouncement stems from a report prepared by a subcommittee of the National Assembly (AN), which revealed that dozens of minors were sexually abused and physically and psychologically mistreated by their caregivers during the last 4 years, in at least least 12 shelters in Panama.
“We urge the authorities to proceed urgently with the structural reform of the child and adolescent protection system that leads to the strengthening of the competent institutions, improve the delimitation of responsibilities, and make effective the supervisory role that they must play. the authorities and the quality of the services provided to children and families, ”said Unicef.
Unicef reminded the authorities that children and adolescents who are in shelters are under special protection of the State.
“In order to effectively advance in the prevention of any form of violence, abuse and mistreatment, individual or corporate interests must be set aside and children put first,” Unicef stressed.
Mayra Silvera, director of the National Secretariat for Children, Adolescents and the Family (Senniaf
) said that she is awaiting the report prepared by the Assembly's subcommittee.