Chapter 1. Fundamental Guarantees
Duty to obey the constitution
The authorities of the Republic are established for the purpose of protecting the lives, honor and property of all nationals, wherever they may be, and of aliens who are under the Republic's jurisdiction, of ensuring the effectiveness of individual and social rights and duties, and of observing and enforcing the Constitution and the Law.
The rights and guarantees recognized by this Constitution must be considered as minimum standards which do not exclude others which are related to fundamental rights and the dignity of the individual.
Binding effect of const rights, Duty to obey the constitution
Private persons are solely responsible to the authorities for violation of the Constitution or the Law. Public Officers are responsible, for the same reasons, and also for exceeding their authority, or for dereliction in the performance of their duties.
General guarantee of equality, Equality for persons with disabilities, Equality regardless of social status, Equality regardless of religion, Equality regardless of parentage, Equality regardless of political party, Equality regardless of gender, Equality regardless of race
There shall be no public or private privileges, or discrimination, by reason of race, birth, social class, handicap, sex, religion or political ideology.
General guarantee of equality
All Panamanians and aliens are equal before the Law, but the Law, for reasons of labor, health, morality, public security and national economy, may subject to special conditions, or may deny the exercise of specific activities to aliens in general. Likewise, the Law or the Authorities may, according to circumstances, take measures that exclusively affect nationals of certain countries, in case of war, or in accordance with what may be established in international treaties.
Principle of no punishment without law
No one may be deprived of his/her liberty except by warrant from a competent authority, issued in accordance with legal formalities, and for reasons previously defined by law. Those executing said order are obliged to give a copy thereof to the person concerned, if he/she requests it.
An offender surprised in the act of committing a crime (flagrante delicto) may be apprehended by any person and must be turned over immediately to the authorities.
No one may be detained for more than twenty-four hours without being brought before a competent authority. Public Officers who violate this precept shall suffer immediate loss of employment and shall be subject to all other penalties established by law, concerning this violation.
Rights of debtors
There shall not be imprisonment, detention or arrest for debts or strictly civil obligations.
Guarantee of due process, Presumption of innocence in trials, Right to public trial, Right to counsel
All persons placed under arrest must be informed immediately, and in an understandable manner, of the reasons for their arrest, and of their Constitutional and corresponding legal rights.
Persons accused of committing a crime have the right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty, at a public trial, under due process of law. Whoever is arrested shall have the right, from that moment, to legal counsel in all police and judiciary proceedings.
This matter shall be regulated by law.
Protection from unjustified restraint
Every individual arrested for reasons not specified or without the legal formalities prescribed by this Constitution or by law, shall be released upon his/her or another person's petition through the writ of habeas corpus which can be submitted immediately after the arrest, regardless of the applicable penalty.
The writ shall be processed with preference over other cases pending, through a summary proceeding, which will not be delayed even the writ is submitted after working hours or on holidays.
The writ of habeas corpus may also be submitted if a real or actual threat to liberty exists or if the form or the conditions of the arrest or the place where the arrested person is being detained put his/her physical, mental or moral integrity at risk or infringe his/her right of defense.
The State may not extradite its nationals, nor may it extradite aliens, for political offenses.
Protection from self-incrimination, Regulation of evidence collection
No person is obliged to testify against himself, his/her spouse, relatives to the fourth degree of consanguinity or second degree of marital relations in criminal, correctional or police proceedings.
Regulation of evidence collection, Inalienable rights, Right to privacy
The domicile, or residence, is inviolable. No one may enter therein without the consent of the owner, except by warrant of a competent authority and for a specific purpose, or to assist the victims of a crime or disaster.
Labor, social security and health officials, upon presentation of valid identification, may make domiciliary visits, or inspections of work centers, to check on the fulfillment of social and public health laws.
Freedom of movement
Every person may travel freely throughout the National territory and change domicile, or residence, without restrictions, other than those which the transit, fiscal, health, and immigration laws or regulations may prescribe.
The penitentiary system is based on principles of security, rehabilitation and social defense. It is unlawful to apply measures which may damage the physical, mental, or moral integrity of incarcerated individuals.
A program for training prisoners in an occupation shall be established, which should permit them to be usefully reintegrated into society.
Prisoners who are minors shall be governed by a special system of custody, protection and education.
Regulation of evidence collection, Right to privacy
Correspondence and other private documents are inviolable and shall not be searched or seized except by warrant of a competent authority, for specific purposes and in accordance with the legal formalities. In any case no notice shall be taken of matters alien to the object of the search or seizure.
The registration of letters and other documents or papers shall always take place in the presence of the person concerned or of a member of his/her family, or, in their absence, of two honorable neighbors living near the place.
All private communications are inviolable and may not be intercepted or recorded unless authorized by judicial warrant.
The non-compliance with this provision precludes that the results [of the interception] are used as evidence, without prejudice to the criminal liability incurred by its authors.
Prohibition of capital punishment
The death penalty, expatriation and confiscation of property are abolished.
Principle of no punishment without law, Protection from ex post facto laws
Only those acts shall be punished which have been declared punishable by a law that predates their perpetration and is exactly applicable to the act for which charges are brought.
Prohibition of double jeopardy
No one shall be tried except by a competent authority and in accordance with legal procedures, and not more than once for the same criminal, administrative, police or disciplinary cause.
The following authorities may impose penalties without previous trial in the cases and under the conditions defined by law:
- The heads of the security forces who may impose penalties on their subordinates in order to suppress insubordination, mutiny, or lack of discipline;
- Captains of ships or aircraft outside the port or the airport are authorized to suppress insubordination or mutiny, or to maintain order on board, or to detain provisionally any actual or presumed offender.
In case of manifest violation of a Constitutional or legal precept, to the detriment of any person, the order of a superior does not relieve from responsibility the agent who executed it. Exception is made of individuals of the Public Forces when they are in actual service, in which case the responsibility falls exclusively on the immediate superior who gave the order.
Official religion, Freedom of religion
All religions may be professed and all forms of worship practiced freely, without any other limitation than respect for Christian morality and public order. It is recognized that the Catholic religion is practiced by the majority of Panamanians.
Religious organizations have juridical capacity and manage and administer their property within the limits prescribed by law, the same as other juridical persons.
Freedom of opinion/thought/conscience, Freedom of press
Every person may express his/her opinion freely, either orally, in writing or by any other means, without being subject to prior censorship. Legal responsibility (liability) will, however, be incurred when by any of these means, the reputation or honor of persons is assailed, or when social security or public order is attacked.
Freedom of assembly
All inhabitants of the Republic have the right to assemble peacefully, without arms, for lawful ends. Public demonstrations or gatherings in open air are not subject to permission. Only previous notification of the local Administrative Authorities, twenty four hours in advance, is required to hold such gatherings.
Authorities may take Police action to prevent or restrain abuse of this right, when the form in which it is exercised causes, or may cause, traffic disturbances, breach of the peace, or violation of the rights of others.
Freedom of association
The formation of companies, associations, or foundations that are not contrary to morals or legal order, is permitted. These may obtain recognition as juridical persons. Recognition shall not be granted to associations whose ideologies are based on the supposed superiority of any race or ethnic group or which defend or promote racial discrimination. The capacity, recognition and regulation of these companies and other juridical persons shall be determined by Panamanian law.
Right to choose occupation
Every person is free to exercise any profession or trade, subject to regulations established by law with respect to competence, morality, social welfare and security, professional affiliation, public health, unionization, and compulsory dues.
No taxes or assessments for the exercise of liberal professions, trades, and arts shall be established.
Right of petition
Every person shall have the right to present respectful petitions and complaints to public officials for reasons of social or private interest, and to obtain a prompt decision.
A public official to whom such a petition, inquiry or complaint is presented, must make a decision on it within thirty days.
Penalties which apply to a violation of this provision shall be determined by law.
Every person has a right of access to his/her personal information contained in data banks or public or private registries and to request their correction and protection, as well as their deletion in accordance with the provisions of the law.
This information may only be collected for specific purposes, subject to the consent of the person in question or by order of a competent authority based on the provisions of the law.
Every person has a right to ask for accessible information or information of general interest stored in data banks or registries administered by public servants or by private persons providing public services, unless access has been limited by written regulation or by legal mandate, and to request their lawful processing and correction.
Every person may submit a writ of habeas data in order to enforce the right to access to his/her personal information stored in official or private data banks or registries, if in the latter case the data bank or registry is run by a business which provides a service to the public or deals with information.
The writ may also be brought in the same manner in order to enforce the right of access to public or freely accessible information, in conformity with the provisions of this Constitution.
The writ of habeas data may be used to request the correction, updating, rectification, deletion or protection of confidentiality of information and data of a personal character.
The law shall determine which tribunals are competent to decide on the applications for habeas data which are examined in a summary procedure without need of representation by counsel.
Ministers of religious faiths and members of religious orders, aside from the performance of duties inherent to their missions, may hold public posts only when such are positions related to social welfare, public education, or scientific research.
Laws have no retroactive effect, except those of public order or social interest when such is expressed. In criminal matters the law favorable to the accused always has preference and retroactivity, even though the judgment may have become final.
Right to own property
Private property acquired by juridical or natural persons is guaranteed in accordance with the law.
Protection from expropriation
Private property implies obligations on the part of its owners because of the social function it must fulfill.
For reasons of public utility or social interest defined by law, there may be expropriation through special proceeding and compensation.
The State recognizes and guarantees the right of every person to obtain quality goods and services, truthful, clear and sufficient information about the characteristics and the substance of the goods and services which he/she purchases, as well as the freedom of choice and the right to conditions of fair and equitable treatment.
The law shall establish the mechanisms necessary to guarantee these rights, the education and the means of defense of the consumer and user, the compensation of damages caused and the sanctions applicable to the violation of these rights.
Protection from expropriation
When the application of a law enacted for reasons of public benefit or social interest results in a conflict between private rights and the need recognized by the law itself, private interest must yield to the public or social interest.
Protection from expropriation
In case of war, grave disturbances of public order or urgent social interest requiring prompt action, the Executive Authority may decree the expropriation or seizure of private property.
When return of the seized object is feasible, the seizure will be only for the duration of the circumstances that may cause it.
The State is always responsible for all expropriations that the Executive Authority thus carries out, and for the losses and damage caused by the seizure, and will pay the value thereof as soon as the determining cause for the expropriation or seizure ends.
No person is obliged to pay a tax or impost which has not been legally established and its manner of collection prescribed by law.
Provisions for intellectual property
Every author, artist or inventor enjoys the exclusive ownership of his/her work or invention during the time and in the manner prescribed by law.
Right to amparo
Every person against whom a Public Officer shall issue or execute a mandatory order or an injunction violating the rights and guarantees established by this Constitution, shall have the right of the order being revoked upon his/her petition or the petition of any other person.
The writ for protection of constitutional guarantee (amparo de garantías constitucionales), to which this Article refers, shall be subject to summary proceedings and the Cognizance of Courts of Law.
In case of foreign war or internal disturbance that threatens peace or public order, all, or a part, of the Republic may be declared in a State of Emergency, and the guarantees of Articles 21, 22, 23, 26, 27, 29, 37, 38, and 44 of this Constitution, may be temporarily suspended, partially or totally.
The State of Emergency and the suspension of Constitutional guarantees mentioned above shall be declared by the Executive Branch through a Decree, agreed upon in Cabinet Council. The Legislative Branch, in its own right, or at the request of the President of the Republic, shall take cognizance of the State of Emergency if it lasts longer than ten days, and confirm or revoke, totally or partially, the measures adopted by the Cabinet Council relative to said State of Emergency.
When the conditions that had motivated the State of Emergency Decree cease to exist, the Legislative Branch, if it is in session, or, if not, the Cabinet Council, shall rescind the Decree and end the State of Emergency.
Chapter 2. The Family
Right to found a family, Regulation of marriage
The State protects marriage, motherhood and the family. What is relative to civil status shall be determined by law.
Rights of children
The State shall protect the physical, mental and moral health of minors and shall guarantee their rights to support, health, education and social security. In an equal manner, the elderly and the sick who are destitute shall have the right to this protection.
Provision for matrimonial equality, Regulation of marriage
Marriage is the legal basis of the family. It rests on equality of rights of both spouses and may be dissolved in accordance with the provisions of the law.
Provision for civil marriage
The de facto union of persons of different sex with the legal capacity to enter into marriage which is sustained for five consecutive years in conditions of single partnership and stability shall produce the full effects of a civil marriage.
To this end, it shall be sufficient the interested parties jointly request the Civil Registrar to register the de facto union. As long as this request has not been made, the marriage may be proved, for the purpose of claiming the rights pertaining thereto, by any of the spouses concerned in accordance with the procedures established by law. However, the Public Ministry, in the interest of morals and of the law, or third persons who assert rights susceptible of being affected by the registration, may object to the registration or challenge it subsequently on the ground that the declaration is contrary to the facts.
Rights of children
Parental authority (patria potestad) is the aggregate of rights and duties parents have in respect to their children.
Parents are obliged to support, educate and protect their children to ensure their proper physical and spiritual upbringing and development, and the latter are obliged to respect and assist their parents.
The exercise of parental authority shall be regulated by law in accordance with social interests and the welfare of the children.
Rights of children
Parents have, with respect to their children born out of wedlock, the same duties as towards their children born in wedlock. All children are equal according to law, and have the same rights of inheritance in intestate successions. The rights of minors or incapacitated children and of destitute parents in testate successions, shall be recognized by law.
Investigation of paternity shall be regulated by law. Classifications as to the nature of the relationship are abolished. There shall not be entered any statement establishing differences of birth, or, on the civil status of the parents, in the registration records, or in any attestation, baptismal or christening records, or certificate referring to the relationship.
Authority is hereby granted to the father of a child born before the effective date of this Constitution to protect the child by the provisions of this Article, by means of rectifying any record or attestation in which any classification may have been established with respect to said child. The consent of the mother is not required but if the child is of legal age, he/she must give his/her consent thereto. In acts of acknowledgement of paternity, anyone who is legally affected by said act may oppose this measure.
Procedures shall be established by law.
The State shall protect the social and economic development of the family and shall organize the family homestead, determining the nature and amount of property that must constitute it, on the basis that it is inalienable and un-attachable.
The State shall create an Entity for the protection of the family, for the purposes of:
- Promoting responsible parenthood through family educational programs;
- Establishing educational programs for pre-school age children, in specialized centers, which children may attend upon the request of their parents or guardians;
- Protecting minors, and the elderly, and accomplishing the social readjustment of those who are abandoned, helpless, morally misguided, or who have behavior maladjustment problems.
The functioning of a special jurisdiction over minors, which among other duties, shall take cognizance of suits concerning the investigation of paternity, family desertion, and juvenile behavior problems, shall be organized and determined by law.
Chapter 3. Work
Right to work, Duty to work, Right to reasonable standard of living
Work is a right and duty of the individual and accordingly the State is obliged to devise economic policies to promote full employment, and to ensure to every workman the necessary conditions for a decent existence.
Right to reasonable standard of living
Every workman in the service of the State, of public or private enterprises or private persons, is guaranteed a minimum wage or salary. Workers of enterprises specified by law shall share in the profits thereof in accordance with the economic conditions of the country.
Right to reasonable standard of living
Rules of periodic adjustment of the minimum salary or wage of the worker shall be set by law, to cover the normal requirements of his/her family, to improve worker's standard of living according to specific conditions of each economic region and activity. The law may also determine the method of fixing minimum salaries or wages for professions or trades.
Whenever job or piece work is performed, it is obligatory that the minimum wage be ensured for each day's work.
The minimum of all wages or salaries is un-attachable, except for support obligations as established by law. Working tools of the workmen are also un-attachable.
Right to just remuneration
A like wage or salary shall always be paid for like work under identical conditions, irrespective of the person who performs it, without taking into account sex, nationality, age, race, social standing, political or religious ideologies.
Right to join trade unions
The right of association is acknowledged for employers, employees, workers and professionals of all classes, for purposes of economic and social activities.
The Executive Authority shall have a non-extendable term of thirty days in which to grant or reject the registration of a union.
Recognition by the Executive Authority of unions, whose legal status shall be determined by registration, shall be regulated by law.
The Executive Authority may not dissolve a union except when it deviates from its exclusive purposes, and this is so declared by a competent court, by means of a final judgment.
The Boards of Directors of these associations shall be constituted exclusively of Panamanians.
Right to strike
The right to strike is hereby recognized. Regulations concerning the exercise of this right, including special restrictions for public service, shall be established by law.
The maximum work day shall be eight hours, and the labor week up to forty eight hours. The maximum night work shall not be more than seven hours. Overtime shall be paid with surcharge.
Limits on employment of children
The maximum work day may be reduced to six hours per day for those over fourteen and under eighteen. Employment of children under 14, and night work of those under 16, is unlawful, save for the exceptions established by law. Likewise, it is unlawful to employ children under 14 as domestic servants, and to employ children and women in unhealthy occupations.
Right to rest and leisure
In addition to a weekly day of rest, all workers shall be entitled to paid vacations.
The weekly day of rest with pay may be established by Law in accordance with social and economic conditions of the country, and for the benefit of workers.
All stipulations that imply waiver, diminishment, modification, or relinquishment of any right recognized in favor of the worker are void, and, as such, do not bind the contracting parties although expressed in a labor agreement or in any other pact. Everything relating to labor contracts shall be regulated by law.
Motherhood of the working woman is protected. The pregnant woman may not be separated from her public or private employment for this reason. For a minimum of six weeks prior to confinement and eight weeks thereafter, she is entitled to rest with the same remuneration that she was receiving, and her job shall be kept for her, as well as all the rights inherent to her contract. Upon returning to work, the mother may not be dismissed for one year, except in special cases prescribed by law, which shall in addition, regulate the special working conditions of the pregnant woman.
It is unlawful to engage foreign workers who can lower the working conditions or standards of living of the National worker. Hiring of foreign managers, administrative and executive directors, technicians, and professionals for public and private service shall be regulated by law, always ensuring the rights of the Panamanian in regard to National interest.
No worker can be dismissed without just cause and without the formalities established by law. These will specify the just reasons for the dismissal, its special exceptions, and corresponding compensation.
Free professional education for the worker is established, imparted by the State or private enterprise, and regulated by law.
Training of union members is established. It will be imparted exclusively by the State and by Panamanian union organizations.
All controversies arising from relations between capital and labor shall be subjected to labor jurisdiction, which shall be exercised in accordance with the provision of the law.
Relations between capital and labor, shall be regulated by law, placing them on a basis of social justice, and establishing special state protection for the benefit of workers.
The rights and guarantees established in this chapter shall be considered as minimum benefits for workers.
Chapter 4. National Culture
The State recognizes the right of every individual to participate in the Culture of the Nation, and shall foster the participation of all inhabitants of the Republic in National Culture.
Reference to art, Right to culture
National Culture consists of the artistic, philosophic and scientific manifestations produced by man in Panama through the ages.
The State shall promote, develop and safeguard this cultural heritage.
The State shall supervise the defense, dissemination and purity of the Spanish language.
Reference to science
The State shall formulate national scientific policy destined to promote the development of science and technology.
Reference to art
The State recognizes the individuality and universal value of artistic work; it shall sponsor and encourage Panamanian artists by making their works known through channels of cultural communication, and shall promote, at the National level, the development of art in all its manifestations, by means of academic institutions of information and recreation.
The historical heritage of the Nation is composed of its archeological objects and sites, historical documents, monuments, and personal or real property that testify to the Nation's past. The State shall decree the expropriation of those items which are in the hands of private parties. Regulations concerning custody of such items shall be established by law, based on the historical primacy of same. Necessary steps to adapt historical heritage items to commercial, tourist, industrial, and technological programs shall be regulated by law.
Protection of language use
The State shall foster the development of physical culture, through sport, education, and recreation centers which shall be regulated by law.
The State recognizes that folkloric tradition constitutes an essential element of national culture, and shall promote its study, preservation and publication, establishing its primacy over manifestations or tendencies that adulterate it.
Aboriginal languages shall be the object of special study, conservation and dissemination. The State shall promote programs of bilingual literacy in indigenous communities.
The social communications media are instruments of information, education, recreation, and cultural and scientific dissemination. When they are used for the dissemination of publicity and propaganda, these must not be contrary to health, morals, education, cultural formation of the local and national conscience. Operation of above mentioned media shall be regulated by law.
The State recognizes and respects the ethnic identity of national indigenous communities, and shall establish programs to develop the material, social and spiritual values of each of their cultures. It shall establish an institution for the study, preservation and publication of these cultures and their languages, and for promotion of full development of said human groups.
Chapter 5. Education
All have the right to an education, and the responsibility to become educated. The State organizes and directs national education as a public service, and guarantees parents the right to participate in the process of their children's education.
Reference to science, Right to development of personality
Education is based on science, uses its methods, promotes its growth and dissemination, and applies its results in order to ensure the development of the human person, and of the family, and equally to ensure the affirmation and strengthening of the Panamanian nation as a cultural and political community.
Reference to fraternity/solidarity
Education is democratic, and is founded on principles of human solidarity and social justice.
Education must accomplish the harmonious and integral development of the person being educated, within the physical, intellectual, moral, aesthetic, and civil standards of society, and must provide the student with the capacity for useful work, in his/her own interest, and for the benefit of all.
It is recognized that the purpose of Panamanian education is to encourage in the student the formation of a national conscience based on knowledge of the history and problems of the country.
Right to academic freedom
Freedom of education is guaranteed, and the right to create private schools, subject to law, is recognized. The State has the power to intervene in the teachings of private educational establishments in order that national and social purposes of the culture, as well as the intellectual, moral, civic, and physical formation of students, be fulfilled.
Public education is that taught in official public schools and private education, that taught in private schools.
Educational institutions, whether public or private, are open to all students without distinction of race, social position, political ideology, religion, or the nature of the relationship of the student's parents or guardians.
Official and private education shall be regulated by law.
Compulsory education, Free education
Official education is free at all pre-university levels. Primary level or general basic education is compulsory.
Free education obliges the State to furnish students with all supplies necessary for their instruction until they complete their general basic education.
Free education does not prevent a tuition fee at the noncompulsory level.
The State agency that shall formulate and approve study plans, educational programs and levels, as well as the organization of a national educational guidance system, in accordance with national needs, shall be determined by law.
Occupational education is established as a special element of the educational system, with basic education and special training programs.
Private undertakings whose operations significantly alter the school population in a certain area, shall contribute to meet the educational requirements of the children of their workmen in accordance with official regulations. Urban development enterprises shall have the same responsibilities with respect to the areas in which they operate.
Only academic and professional titles issued by the State, or authorized by it, in accordance with the Law, are recognized.
The Official University of the State shall supervise the degrees of private Universities officially approved, to guarantee the degrees they use, and shall revalidate those of foreign Universities in the cases established by law.
Education shall be imparted in the official language. Only in specially qualified cases of public interest can an educational establishment be permitted by law to teach in a foreign language.
The history of Panama and civic education shall always be taught by Panamanians.
The law may establish economic incentives benefiting public and private education, as well as the publication of national instructional works.
The State shall establish a system of economic benefits through scholarships, supplements, or any economic assistance to students who deserve or require it.
Under equal circumstances, preference shall be given to those who are financially in need.
The Official University of the Republic is autonomous. Juridical status, its own patrimony, and the right to administer it are hereby recognized. It is empowered to organize its own study programs, and to appoint and dismiss personnel in the manner determined by law. It will include in its activities the study of national problems and diffusion of National Culture. Equal importance shall be given to University education provided in Regional Centers as that provided in the capital city.
In order that the economic autonomy of the University be made effective, the State shall provide it with what is essential for its establishment, operation, and future development, as well as the endowment dealt with in the preceding article, and the necessary resources to increase it.
Freedom of teaching is recognized subject to no other limitations than those that for reasons of public order may be established in the University charter.
Exceptional students of all types shall be afforded special education, based on scientific research and educational guidance.
The Catholic religion shall be taught in public schools, but, upon the requests of parents or guardians, certain students shall not be obliged to attend religion classes, nor to participate in religious services.
The State shall develop programs of education and promotion for indigenous groups which possess their own cultural mores, in order to ensure their active participation in public life.
Chapter 6. Health, Social Security and Social Welfare
Right to health care
It is an essential function of the State to protect the health of all the people of the Republic. The individual, as part of the national community, is entitled to promotion, protection, conservation, recovery and rehabilitation of his/her health and the obligation to preserve it, health being understood to be complete physical, mental and social wellbeing.
Right to health care
In matters of health, the State is primarily obliged to develop the following activities, integrating the functions of prevention, cure and rehabilitation in the:
- Establishment of a national policy of food and nutrition, ensuring optimum nutritional conditions for the entire population, by promoting the availability, consumption, and biological benefit of suitable food;
- Training of individuals and social groups by means of educational actions concerning individual and collective rights and responsibilities, with respect to personal and environmental health;
- Protection of the health of mother, young child and adolescent, guaranteeing health care during the periods of pregnancy, lactation, childhood and adolescence;
Right to water
Combating of contagious diseases through environmental health, development of potable water availability, and adopting methods of immunization, prophylaxis, and treatment to be provided collectively and individually to all the population;
- Establishment, in accordance with the requirements of each region, of centers which provide comprehensive health care services, and supply medicines to all the people. These services and medicines shall be given free to those who lack economic means to purchase them;
Right to safe work environment
Regulation, and supervision of the fulfillment of conditions of health and safety in places of work, establishing a national policy of medicine and hygiene for Industry and Labor.
The State shall develop a national policy regarding medical products that promotes the production, availability, obtainability, quality, and control thereof throughout the country.
The State is obliged to establish a population policy that is responsive to the social and economic development needs of the country.
State support for the elderly, State support for the disabled, State support for the unemployed, State support for children
All individuals are entitled to the security of their economic means for subsistence in case of disability or impossibility of obtaining remunerated work. Social Security services shall be granted or administered by Autonomous Entities and shall cover sickness, maternity, disability, family subsidies, old age, widowhood, orphan-hood, compulsory lay off, labor accidents and occupational diseases, and all other contingencies that may be included in social security. The establishment of such services, as and when demanded by social requirements, shall be provided for by law.
The State shall create assistance and social welfare institutions. The fundamental tasks of these are the economic and social rehabilitation of the dependent sectors or those lacking economic means, care of the mentally and chronically ill, and indigent invalids, and groups that have not been integrated into the Social Security System.
The State may establish complementary funds, with the support and participation of public and private sector workers, to improve Social Security services concerning retirements. This shall be regulated by law.
Government Health Agencies, including Autonomous and Semi-autonomous Institutions, shall be integrated organically and functionally. This shall be regulated by law.
Communities have the duty and the right to participate in the planning, execution and evaluation of the different Health Programs.
Right to shelter
The State shall establish a National Housing Policy in order to provide housing for all people, especially those in lower income groups.
Chapter 7. The Ecology
Right to water, Protection of environment
The State has the fundamental obligation to guarantee that its population lives in a healthy environment, free of contamination (pollution), and where air, water, and foodstuffs satisfy the requirements for proper development of human life.
Protection of environment
The State, and all the inhabitants of the national territory, have the obligation of promoting economic and social development that prevents environmental contamination, maintains ecological balance, and avoids the destruction of ecosystems.
Protection of environment
The State shall regulate, supervise, and apply, at the proper time, the measures necessary to guarantee rational use of, and benefit from, land, river and sea life, as well as forests, lands and waters, to avoid their misuse, and to ensure their preservation, renewal, and permanence.
Ownership of natural resources
Benefits gained from non-renewable natural resources shall be regulated by law, to avoid social, economic and environmental abuses that could result.
Chapter 9. Office of the Ombudsman (Defensoría del Pueblo
International human rights treaties, Ombudsman
The Office of the Ombudsman monitors the protection of the fundamental rights and guarantees recognized in this Constitution as well as of those which are provided for by international human rights conventions and the law through the non-judicial control of the facts, acts and omissions of public servants and providers of public services and makes sure that they are observed.
The Office of the Ombudsman acts under the direction and responsibility of the Ombudsman who is appointed by the legislative branch for a period of five years during which he/she may neither be suspended nor dismissed, except by a vote of two thirds of the members of the National Assembly on one of the grounds previously determined by law.
In order to be eligible as Ombudsman it is necessary:
- To be Panamanian by birth;
- To fully enjoy one's civil and political rights;
- To be at least thirty five years of age;
- Not to have been sentenced to five years in prison or more for a premeditated offense;
- To have moral integrity and a good reputation;
- Not to be bound by family ties, within the fourth degree of consanguinity and the second degree of marital relations, to the President of the Republic, any other Cabinet Council member, Justices of the Supreme Court of Justice or a member of the National Assembly.