Panama Pro Bono Directory

Click here to see the numbers and origins of refugees hosted by Panama.

For Panama country of information (COI) experts, reports, commentaries and relevant documents, please click here.

As UNHCR statistics generally rely on data from host countries, statistics on refugees alone can give an insufficient account of refugee numbers, as some host countries will not grant refugee status to certain groups. Including statistics for individuals in refugee-like situations is an attempt to account for unrecognised refugees and does not include internally displaced persons. Statistics for stateless refugees are included if available.

Click here for UNHCR contact information for Panama


CEALP – El Centro de Asistencia Legal Popular (The Legal Aid Centre)

Avenida Cuba, Calle 39, Edificio Tarraco, S.A., Local No.1 – Across the street from the National Hospital (Hospital Nacional)
Tel: +507 80 02 434 or 22 75 150 or 22 72 755 or 66 71 91 14 (24 hours)

El Centro de Asistencia Legal Popular (CEALP) is a non-profit NGO dedicated to promoting and defending human rights. CEALP administers the Program of Legal Assistance and Orientation for asylum seekers and persons in need of international protection, including those under the Temporary Humanitarian Protection Regime (THPs). The program is sponsored by the Norwegian Refugee Council, and is an initiative that is directed towards those who require legal support to carry out the necessary procedures in relation to their refugee claims. They provide:

  • general information for asylum seekers who enter Panamanian territory, legal advice in relation to asylum seekers’ rights and responsibilities, as well as information on the Refugee Status Determination (RSD) procedure in Panama
  • Individual legal representation for asylum seekers, so that they can carry out the necessary procedures before administrative and judicial entities, primarily before La Oficina Nacional Para la Atención de los Refugiados (ONPAR) (The National Office for the Attention of Refugees) and La Comisión Nacional de Elegibilidad (CNE) (the National Eligibility Commission).

Refugees responsibilities in Panama include abiding by Panamanian law and procedures, respect for public order, maintaining proper conduct in accordance with the norms and customs of the Republic of Panama, carry a valid and up-to-date ID card at all times, cooperate with the authorities, and refrain from participation in any political activities.


MENAMIRE – La Mesa Nacional de Migrantes y Refugiados (National Forum of Migrants and Refugees)

MENAMIRE was established in 2004 by civil society groups who came together to form a network, and includes CEALP. Its goal is to carry out activities related to legal defence, denunciations, accompaniment, awareness-raising, communication, and lobbying for a new legal framework that guarantees the human rights of the migrant and refugee population.

Oficina Nacional para la Atención de los Refugiados (ONPAR)

Tel: +507 22 52 280  (Monday-Friday 08:30-16:30)

An entity of the Ministry of Government and Justice, ONPAR is in charge of coordinating and carrying out decisions made by CNE. ONPAR is also in charge of the programs and protection services offered to refugees and persons under Temporary Humanitarian Status (THPs), as described in the Executive Decree No. 23 of February 10, 1998.

Asociación de miskitus nicaraguences en Panamá


Norwegian Refugee Council, Panama, through Colombia main office
Calle Vicente Bonilla, Edificio 110 (the OIM building), Ciudad del Saber, Clayton, Ciudad de Panamá, Panamá
Tel: +507 30 53 395
Fax: +507 30 53 355

The NRC provides legal assistance (legal aid, advocacy) for victims of forced displacement, in particular with regard to housing, land and property rights, and for victims of sexual and gender-based violence. They provide orientation information, counselling and education programmes for displaced children and adolescents, and also promote and advocate for changes in policy to ensure the protection of displaced and indigenous populations. NRC provides legal assistance, usually through individual casework, but it may also entail class action. NRC pursues legal action through all relevant local, national and international legal systems and mechanisms, including customary law, conflict resolution and mediation mechanisms and any other prevalent systems of law – in addition to statutory law and the courts. NRC may provide training in legal issues to target groups and key local actors – to establish a platform of understanding of rights and applicable law, and subsequent legal approaches to key issues.