By Enrique Peña Nieto.
The evolution of mankind has been forged around the migration of people across regions and continents. It is therefore an honor for me to participate in the High Level Meeting on Refugees and Migrants, where we can more effectively coordinate multilateral efforts for the protection of migrants and the recognition of their contributions to development.
This is a historic meeting that brings together the sensitivity and political will of the international community to agree on a comprehensive and global approach to migration, guided by the principle of shared responsibility.
Migrants symbolize the movement that has advanced humanity. Their culture, traditions and knowledge enrich the cultural heritage of societies where they decide to settle, contributing to the fusion of cultures and the creation of new dynamic and prosperous nations. Migrants have also represented our ability to overcome adversity since time immemorial.
Today, we note with concern that migrants and refugees face rejection, discrimination and abuse. These threats are further aggravated when, through ignorance, racism or simply political opportunism, migrants are stigmatized and blamed for the problems and challenges of the countries of destination. Therefore, I am convinced that the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development has done well to promote better protection of the rights of migrants and public policies that address the causes of migration.
Today more than ever, migrants, their dignity and well-being must be at the center of international support. The international community has an excellent opportunity to address global migration flows. Since Mexico is a country of origin, transit, destination and return for migrants, is no stranger to this problem.
Mexico is a proudly mestizo and multicultural nation, the result of a dynamic legacy of multiple migrations throughout its history. The great cultural, economic and social wealth of Mexico and other countries cannot be understood without migrants. A clear example of this situation is the community of Mexican origin living in the United States. Mexican migrants contribute every day, through their work, talent and creativity, to the prosperity and development of that country. They produce approximately 8% of US GDP and pay billions of dollars in taxes each year, helping to finance social welfare programs throughout the United States.
The agreements resulting from this meeting of the United Nations should be based on international cooperation and responsibility. They should be focused on strengthening states’ capacities to protect migrants and their human rights, while recognizing their contributions to economic development and achieving social inclusion, with the aim of eradicating intolerance and racism.
As a responsible global player, Mexico has offered to host a Preparatory International Meeting –in 2017- to facilitate the adoption of the Global Pact for Safe, Orderly, Regular Migration and the Global Refugee, which will be adopted in 2018.
We cannot turn our backs on the suffering of millions of people leaving their countries in search of better opportunities or fleeing armed conflict, violence and humanitarian crises around the world. I am convinced that the future of humanity depends on fraternity and solidarity. Mexico will continue to work tirelessly for the protection of refugees and the recognition of migrants as agents of change and development, for the protection of their rights and combating hate and discrimination.
Published in The Huffington Post.