top of page

Darien Gap: The Sexual Violence Crisis and the Absence of Doctors Without Borders

From AfroResistance, we express our deep concern over the suspension of medical services by Doctors Without Borders in Panama, especially at a time when there has been a significant increase in the migratory flow of people crossing the Darien Gap daily, thus exposing themselves to extreme risks and various forms of violence.

Foto tomada por Fernando Vergara

We are particularly alarmed by the distressing data provided by MSF Panama on the cases of sexual violence attended in 2023, totaling 676 cases, including those perpetrated against minors.

It is terrifying to verify the chilling figures of sexual violence reported by the same organization during the year 2024. In January, they attended to 120 victims of this type of violence, and in just one week of February, there were 113 cases. These figures reflect the level of cruelty and extreme violence faced by people who, hoping for a better future, risk their lives and those of their children by undertaking the dangerous journey north.

We demand that the countries in the region take concrete measures in response to the serious complaints made by organizations like MSF, against the increase in extreme violence perpetrated by criminal groups that exploit and profit from the needs and hopes of migrant people. This situation unfolds in a context of widespread impunity, where it seems that nobody cares, perhaps because the main victims are impoverished people, mainly black women and girls.

We make an urgent call to the international community to direct its attention and take concrete actions in the face of the severe migratory crisis facing the southern border of Panama with Colombia. It is imperative to act to prevent people from being forced to migrate due to insecurity and the lack of opportunities in their countries of origin.

As pointed out by Luis Eguiluz, head of mission in Panama and Colombia for MSF, "The levels of violence and sexual violence we observe in the Darién are extraordinary and do not compare with other humanitarian crises. However, we also observe a significant lack of actions to address the situation or mitigate its consequences."

We need action now; migrant women and girls in the Darien Gap need their lives to be protected; they have the right to a life free of violence.


bottom of page