Panama: Peasant and Indigenous Women Call for Social Justice, Equality and an end to extractivism

The women of the UIC and the Unión Campesina Panameña, UCP, together with social organizations, contribute to the construction of a fairer society.

Statement on International Women’s Day – March 8

We, indigenous and peasant women of Veraguas and the Ngäbe Buglé Comarca, gathered today, March 8th, in the community of La Trinidad, Ñurum District of the Ngäbe Buglé Comarca (Panama), declare the following to the country.

The women belonging to the Unión Indígena Campesina (UIC) and the Unión Campesina Panameña (UCP) are working and fighting in an organized manner and in alliance with social organizations throughout the country to contribute to the construction of a fairer and more equitable society, with the dream of a country where there are more educational opportunities, access to health services, food, and decent jobs, necessary conditions for a true democracy, peace, and social justice.

In Panama, human rights are not fulfilled; many families have not got access to quality basic food basket and at fair prices; as was the demand of the Panamanian people with the belligerent participation of women, during the national protests that paralyzed the country in July 2022. These demands have been ignored so far and mocked by this government and the business sectors.

Likewise, we, peasant and indigenous women, have been fighting against Minera Panama (First Quantum Minerals – FQM). This struggle resulted in the Supreme Court of Justice of Panama declaring the mining concession contract between the State and Minera Panama, S.A. as unconstitutional on November 27th, 2023. A few months after the historic ruling, we are concerned that neither the Mining Company nor the government has complied with the ruling of the Supreme Court of Justice. We hereby express to the government of the PRD – Nito Cortizo that it must abide by the decision of the sovereign, massively demonstrated in the streets, to definitively close and expel the mining company First Quantum Minerals – FQM from our country.

The occasion is also appropriate to congratulate on the 27th anniversary of the Ngäbe and Buglé Comarca, created on March 7, 1997, the result of ancestral struggles of women and men to have a territory, autonomy, and their own authorities that highlight their identity, culture, and worldview.

As we begin the 2024 school year, we wish a happy return to school to all our students, even though many schools are not in good condition, even though there are hovel schools, multigrade schools, thousands of students excluded from the educational system for racial, economic, geographic, and social reasons in a rich, but highly unequal and discriminatory country.


MARCH 8th, 2024