Mexico Criticizes Walls at UN Rights Council

Mexico News Daily, March 4, 2017

Walls represent extremism and intolerance and Mexico will not accept them, the Undersecretary for Multilateral Affairs and Human Rights told the United Nations Human Rights Council this week.

Speaking at the council’s headquarters in Geneva on Thursday, Miguel Ruiz Cabañas said that “walls between nations are walls between people, and bring about extremism and intolerance through physical and ideological barriers, which we will not accept under any circumstance.

“We must condemn populist ultra-nationalism that, when exploited as a political weapon, impacts democracies and severely affects freedoms and fundamental rights,” he said, without naming the United States.

“This is why the government of Mexico reiterates its commitment to the defense of our nationals abroad.”

Since human rights are universal, interdependent and interrelated, stated Ruiz, “it isn’t possible to defend some and ignore others, or defend them for some individuals while denying them to others.”

Internationally, migrants find themselves in a situation of vulnerability in the name of national security, resulting in the infringement of “the most fundamental of their human rights and their safety.

“Make no mistake: behind discourses like those lie racism and xenophobia.”

Ruiz said that when a nation’s security measures target a particular group of people they are in effect criminalized, “contravening the rule of law and violating due process through severely discriminatory acts.

“Ill-conceived security policies not only fail to halt human mobility, but also increase risks and vulnerability among migrants . . . Measures like those are mistaken, both morally and practically, as they entail a very high social cost.”

He also insisted that governments are mandated to guarantee that all their policies, including those related to national security, adhere to international law.

“The government of Mexico reasserts its commitment to defend our compatriots abroad . . . and will continue to strive to guarantee that the rights of foreigners in Mexico are also fully respected.”

The council before which Ruiz appeared has been criticized for a number of years for the influence repressive governments have over it, and there has been speculation in Washington recently that the U.S. might withdraw from it.

The U.S. envoy to the council said this week it should drop its “obsession with Israel,” describing it as a threat to the council’s credibility.

It was formed to replace the Human Rights Commission in 2006, when then-U.S. president George W. Bush refused to join for that reason.

That decision was reversed by Barack Obama in 2009.

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