By Francesca Maccabruni / GICJ

Every year, tens of thousands of migrants cross the Darién Gap, a route that divides Colombia and Panama, and includes numerous jungles, watersheds and mountains, where migrants dream of a better life and do everything to reach the American Dream. It is a very dangerous gap for those who cross it, not only because it is physically difficult, but also because attacks by criminal groups and smugglers can occur [1].

In 2021, according to statistics provided by the Panama Migration Services, about 134,000 people, 80% of whom were Haitians, and 28,344 minors attempted to cross the jungle. To date, Venezuelans represent the largest population crossing the Darién Gap, but the arduous journey is also undertaken by Cubans, Haitians, Senegalese and Uzbeks [2].

In recent years, Panama has built three Migrant Reception Stations (ERMs), with the support of international organisations including the International Organisation for Migration (IOM). In the ERMs, the physical conditions of the migrants are monitored and they are also provided with food and shelter [3].

The United Nations reports that during this journey, some migrants suffered attacks and violence from criminal groups, witnessed the death of their relatives, and saw dead bodies along the way [4]. For this reason, the situation remains critical, as those who manage to overcome the difficult path, risk serious physical and psychological consequences.  This is why international cooperation is needed to intervene and provide humanitarian assistance to migrants.

On 19 and 20 April 2022, the US Secretary of State and other Western Hemisphere leaders travelled to Panama City to meet with the President of Panama and conduct a ministerial conference on migration and protection. “The US delegation will deepen our ongoing efforts to improve bilateral and regional cooperation on irregular migration and forced displacement, and lay the groundwork for a successful Summit of the Americas in June”, underlined the U.S Department of State [5]. The ministerial conference was also attended by multilateral banks, non-governmental organisations, the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and other international institutions [6].

Geneva International Centre for Justice (GICJ) is very concerned about the emergency situation of migrants facing the difficult journey through the jungle of the Darién Gap. GICJ calls the authorities of the international community and the United Nations to work together to take effective measures to address the problem. International protection must be made accessible to all those in need, communities hosting migrants must be supported, and their integration must be facilitated.

TheDariénGap, Migrants, Migration, UnitedNations, UN, IOM, UNHCR, humanitarian aid, HumanRights, InternationalHumanitarianLaw, international law, international community, geneva4justice, GICJ, Geneva_International_Centre_For_Justice, Justice

Image source:







GICJ Newsletter

Register a violation with GICJ