Panama facing trouble with OAS
To answer the accusations, the Panamanian government through its Ambassador to the Organization of American States, Aristides Royo, pres...
To answer the accusations, the Panamanian government through its Ambassador to the Organization of American States, Aristides Royo, presented a report that showed the legal framework of the land given to the different indigenous groups.
Royo told the Commission that the government is doing everything in its power to respect the rights of the indigenous peoples and guarantee them a better standard of living, aiming to fight at all costs, extreme poverty.
During the public audience, in which Royo talked about the right to property of the indigenous groups, he said that the Political Constitution of Panama guarantees that they have sufficient amount of land and collective property so their social and economic wellbeing is assured.
He explained that Panama is one of the countries that has the most advanced legislation in these matters and recognizes the autonomy and independence of the indigenous people.
Panama has created five homelands which occupy 22 percent of the national territory.
Royo told the Commission that it would be unjust to say that Panama is not respecting the right to land of the native Indians.
Over the last ten years, property developers have been invading the indigenous land, trying to create resorts in the middle of their territory. This situation has created friction between the Indian groups and the government.
Recently, mining and electricity companies have also tried to have open cast mines and build hydroelectric plants on land that traditionally belonged to the indigenous people.
Environmentalist groups and civil associations have become involved in the struggle, helping the indigenous inhabitants to fight the big corporations.
Panama’s government is facing a big dilemma, because on one hand it has to protect the rights of the indigenous people, while on the other it needs more energy and income to keep the country running.
A balance that has not been achieved but, says Royo, the government is continuing to create favorable policies.