Panama

Panama

HIAS Panama staff members in the Darién region assist refugees, asylum seekers, and migrants after transiting the dangerous rainforest. (HIAS Panama)
Retreat of HIAS' Latin America and the Caribbean staff members in Bogota, Colombia. HIAS Venezuela Country Director Oliver Bush.

Country Director

Oliver Bush

Office Locations

Chiriqui, Darién, Panama City

Founded

2010

Staff Size

35

Connect

+507 391 5171

Operational in Panama since 2010, HIAS’ programs support refugees, asylum seekers, and vulnerable migrants and help them to access protection and build new lives. HIAS Panama adopts a community-based approach across its programs, promoting the wellbeing of host communities and strengthening the capacity of local leaders. Panama is a country of transit and destination for displaced people from across the region. Panama currently hosts over 121,000 Venezuelans, however, the refugee status determination and asylum processes can be lengthy and costly.

In addition to Venezuelans, Panama also hosts thousands of displaced Central Americans, and serves as a transit point for refugees and migrants traveling north in search of asylum. HIAS takes a holistic approach to its interventions and offers integrated programming in GBV prevention and response, community-based mental health and psychosocial support, economic inclusion, and legal protection. HIAS Panama is also one of the key actors in the humanitarian response in the Darién Gap.

11,000

people reached directly through services in 2021

Our Work

HIAS Panama helps refugees, asylum seekers, and migrants access dignified and sustainable livelihoods, leading to self-reliance and economic inclusion in their new communities. HIAS Panama helps individuals and families recover from the shock of displacement, build resilience, and live in safety, protected from harm, violence, and discrimination.

Our economic inclusion programs ensure that refugees have economic opportunities to earn sustainable income and start their lives anew.

Promote Economic Inclusion

We work to protect the right of women, girls, and LGBTQ communities to access their full potential and live free from violence by supporting survivors, mitigating risks, and transforming beliefs that perpetuate GBV.

End Gender-Based Violence
CREDIT: Jessica Masibo / HIAS Kenya

We provide legal services and support, including free legal representation for asylum seekers so that everyone around the world, including displaced people, can have equal access to their legal rights.

Provide Legal Support
Provide Legal Support

Our economic inclusion programs ensure that refugees have economic opportunities to earn sustainable income and start their lives anew.

Promote Economic Inclusion

Impact Story

Desperation Drives Thousands Through Darién Gap

In the untamed wilderness of Panama’s Darién Gap, thousands of refugees, mostly Haitians, Venezuelans, and Cubans, attempt the perilous journey through Colombia to Panama and points north every week. HIAS, which has well-established operations in Panama and nearby Colombia and Costa Rica, has staff members on the ground in the region to help those in need.

Read more

Former HIAS Panama Country Director Roberto Mera reports from the Darién Gap in Panama on the increased numbers of migrants traveling through the region. 

HIAS’ services are free. If someone tries to charge you for services claiming they represent HIAS, please report it at our confidential email address: ethics@hias.org. HIAS has a zero-tolerance policy on fraud and corruption. 

For any other inquiries please email us at info@hias.org.

A HIAS local staff member meets with an Ethiopian family seeking asylum. He helps make sure that the needs of the family are met as they wait.  (Glenna Gordon for HIAS)

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A HIAS local staff member meets with an Ethiopian family seeking asylum. He helps make sure that the needs of the family are met as they wait.  (Glenna Gordon for HIAS)

Help HIAS provide vital services to refugees and asylum seekers around the world