Coronavirus: nearly 1,600 Haitian migrants stranded in camps in Panama
La Penita camp, Darien province, Panama, August 6, 2020, where hundreds of migrants remain stranded amid the coronavirus pandemic. City / Country La Peñita, Panama Credit MAURICIO VALENZUELA / AFP
Text by: RFI Follow
Before the pandemic, Costa Rica, bordering Panama, allowed the passage of a hundred migrants every day. But the border is now closed. Among the migrants, nearly 1,600 Haitians were surprised by the pandemic and are living in deplorable conditions in the jungle near the Colombian border.
The confinement and promiscuity have put the tension to its height in these makeshift camps. A Haitian who wishes to remain anonymous claims to experience hell on a daily basis.
“ Here, it's not a life, he blurted out. Here is not a place for us migrants to live. There are no latrines - excuse me for this discussion - to relieve ourselves. And from August 1 until today, there is no hospital. We have to spend some time in front of immigration to beg them like dogs before they agree to take us to the hospitals. "
At the moment, these migrants have no idea when they can get back on the road. Last week, tensions escalated with Panamanian police monitoring the camps.
" We can't go anywhere because the guards are watching us 24 hours a day," adds the young man. For me, we are treated like slaves, wild beasts. Here, people are at their wit's end since all the savings have already passed. There are people who have already tried to kill themselves because of this situation. "
The Inter-American Court of Human Rights has called for emergency international aid, demanding that Panama respect the rights of these migrants massed in these pressure cooker-like camps.
► Read also: Coronavirus: more than 2,000 migrants stranded in Panama
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