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The political and military situation in Panama has been stable since the late 1990s / early 2000s.1 The country does, however, suffer from high levels of weapons and ammunition trafficking;2 as of 2010, there were also concerns about landmines on its territory as non-state armed groups began to plant mines along drug smuggling routes. The extent of the contamination is currently unclear.3

The UN Regional Centre for Peace, Disarmament and Development in Latin America and the Caribbean (UNLIREC) is the only organisation working on the ground to support the through-life management of ammunition, in collaboration with the Ministry of Defence of Panama. Efforts have included holding national and regional seminars on ammunition control measures, leading a study on small arms ammunition control measures contained in the legal frameworks of Latin American and Caribbean states, and hosting a webinar to present the conclusions of this study to stakeholders.4

1 James Loxton, “Panama's Success Is Defying Political Science,” Foreign Policy, January 28, 2022,

2 Philip Alpers and  Amélie Rossetti, Panama – Gun Facts, Figures and the Law (, Sydney School of Public Health, University of Sydney, 2022),

3 “Colombian Rebels Planting Landmines in Panama,” Reuters, July 3, 2010,,Panamanian%20official%20said%20on%20Friday.

4 “Ammunition Management Activity Platform (A-MAP),” GICHD, 2022,

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Further information

Accidental explosions

Since the Small Arms Survey began collecting data in 1979, no accidental explosions have been reported in Panama.

Source: “Unplanned Explosions at Munitions Sites (UEMS) Database,” Small Arms Survey, updated December 15, 2021,

Cases of diversion

Several cases of diversion have been reported since 2016 in Panama.

Table 1. Cases of diversion of arms, ammunition and explosives in Panama since 2016






At least 100 M-4 assault rifles, machine guns and grenades were stolen from the Institutional Protection Service.

Source: Luis Miguel Avila, “Denuncian La Pérdida De Armas,” Panamá América, September 28, 2016,


Insufficient information on the disposal of ammunition in Panama.


No needs have been reported for Panama.

Souce: Panama, National Report on the Implementation of the Programme of Action on Small Arms and Light Weapons (PoA) and the International Tracing Instrument (ITI) (New York: Permanent Mission of Panama to the UN, 2020),

Published Date: Friday 17 of November 2023