Photo: Cuba - Bahamas
The Panamanian government “will grant territorial asylum for humanitarian reasons” to 19 Cubans who are being detained in The Bahamas, the Foreign Ministry said Sunday.
“Panama received the request of 19 Cuban citizens to be covered by the asylum statute, a condition that will be authorized for them as per the decision of the President of the Republic, Ricardo Martinelli Berrocal, once they enter Panamanian territory,” the ministry said in a statement.
The procedures to welcome the Cubans in Panama and house them in a shelter will begin on the judicial level starting on Monday, an official told Efe, adding that the group’s arrival in the Central American country could occur during the course of the coming week.
“This is an expedited procedure, based on the Caracas Convention of 1954 whereby territorial asylum is granted to citizens who are suffering political persecution or whose personal safety is endangered,” the Foreign Ministry said.
Among the “considerations” made in the case by the Panamanian government to grant the asylum request are “the complaints of international human rights organizations, which have warned about the treatment received by Cuban citizens detained in the ... Bahamas,” the ministry said.
During the course of its history, Panama - based on international humanitarian law - has granted protection to citizens of other countries who are being persecuted for political reasons or are being subjected to treatment that puts their lives and their physical integrity in danger, the Foreign Ministry said.