Expression

On 4th August 2021, the Ministry of the Presidency issued a resolution enabling the restriction of access to information on government activities. Resolution 71 allows officials to restrict for ten years access to the minutes, archives and other documents related to discussions and activities of the President, the Vice-President, the Cabinet Council and its secretary. Transparency International’s chapter in Panama, Fundación para el Desarollo de la Libertad Ciudadana, said the decision exacerbates the crisis of public distrust and called it “inconvenient, non-transparent, untimely”.

On 23rd August 2021, legislator Gabriel Silva presented a bill in the National Assembly which would reform the Transparency Law (6/2002) to prevent the restriction of public access to these government documents. On 26th August 2021, student groups protested against Resolution 71 in front of the National Assembly.

Peaceful Assembly

From 16th to 17th August 2021, Indigenous communities in Chiriquí demonstrated to demand the construction of roads connecting sectors of Indigenous comarca Ngäbe Buglé. The protesters blocked part of the Inter-American Highway, which connects Panama to other countries in Central America, for nearly 24 hours. The blockade was lifted after government representatives agreed to meet with Indigenous leaders. Earlier in 2021, residents of the comarca had set up demonstrations to demand a series of infrastructure improvements.