·        “Mexico is advancing the society of rights it wants,” he said.

 

·        “I do not support either the consumption or the legalization of marijuana,” he declared.

 

·       It is incorrect to assume that the legalization of marijuana will make it easier to combat organized crime. So the question is:, "Should we put the health of Mexican children and youth at risk to combat organized crime? My answer is no.”

 

 

Earlier today, President Enrique Peña Nieto installed the National System of Integral Protection for Children and Adolescents, an organization he will chair, which seeks to coordinate the efforts of different levels of government and civil society to work together on behalf of the country’s children and youth.

 

Once installed, members of the System will approved the president’s proposal of Ricardo Bucio Mújica as Executive Secretary of this organization.

 

Accompanied by his wife, Angelica Rivera de Peña, the president said that the creation of this system, which reflects the moral, ethical and political obligation of those who comprise it, is an answer to the only preferential initiative he has submitted to Congress, "Which was approved by a majority, almost unanimously, to make the rights of Mexican children and adolescents law.”

 

Stressing that what a nation is projects is the conditions of its children and youth, President Peña Nieto stressed that, "If we succeed in guaranteeing Mexico’s children and youth a life of rights, options, opportunities, education and training, then we will be projecting the welfare and prosperity of our country.”

 

He said that Mexico is advancing the society of rights it wants: “A country with greater equality, greater prosperity, opportunity for all Mexicans, but especially opportunities for development of Mexican children and youth.”

 

“We must protect them. Just as we are working in other orders, building the foundations for the development and prosperity of Mexico, to achieve greater welfare on the basis of the economic growth and development of our country, one of the key fronts is undoubtedly to take care of Mexican children and youth,” he said.

 

The president repeated his personal position on the use of marijuana, arguing that the debate on this issue should prioritize the rights of Mexican children and youth.  “In various forums, I have categorically expressed my personal position: I do not support either the consumption or the legalization of marijuana.”

 

And I do not support it because it has been proven that consumption of this substance is harmful to the development of youth and children, to the development of their psychological and physical skills; in short, it damages young people’s health,” he explained.

 

He added:  “However, I am also in favor of discussion so that skilled experts can give us greater insight into the direction we should take. In other words, whether we should continue to prohibit it to or possibly allow marijuana for certain purposes.

 

President Peña Nieto said that what we cannot do is to, “Create confusion in children and young people.” He remarked that he told his own children: "Make no mistake, we’re going to start a debate,” adding that he told them that he is categorically opposed to the legalization of marijuana.

 

“But it could possibly be used for other purposes, medicinal uses, for example, so let the experts to give us clarity and light,” he added.

 

The president said: "What is not right, what I cannot agree with, is the assumption that it will be easier to combat organized crime, illicit, illegal sales, and the revenue from this illegal activity, just by legalizing it. So the question is: "Should we put the health of Mexican children and youth at risk to combat organized crime? Would that be the answer? My answer is no.”

 

He explained that the state, “Has to do its part to combat organized crime with the force of the state, without risking the health of Mexican children and youth.”

 

"So it will be the task of the forums that will be organized to open up this wide-ranging debate, to listen to the different voices of those who are for and against, and of the experienced, skilled, voices specializing in this field to provide guidance on what the Mexican government should do to ensure public health, and full respect for the rights of Mexican children and youth,” he said.

 

At the event, held in the Adolfo López Mateos Hall of the official residence of Los Pinos, President Peña Nieto welcomed the establishment of the National System of Integral Protection of Children and Adolescents, and defined the priorities that the federal government, state governments and the branches of government will have as of next year:

 

FIRST: The creation of a National Program for the Integral Protection of Children and Adolescents. "This is mandated by the law, so we will have to clearly define what actions should be taken by the branches and levels of government to promote the rights of Mexican children and youth.”

 

SECOND: The creation, with the support of INEGI, of a National System of Information on Children and Adolescents. "This will allow us to have a database to measure and determine which actions undertaken in each branch of government actually benefit Mexican children and youth.” 

 

THIRD: Full coordination between the National System we installed today and the other National Government Systems. "The actions mandated by the law, which we are carrying out at the federal level, will be expected to be repeated in the state orders.

 

He said that the point is to coordinate efforts with state governments, according to what the law mandates.

 

FOURTH: The harmonization of our legal framework. “At the next ordinary session, I will submit a package of initiatives to amend various laws, in order to bring them into line with the General Law on the Rights of Children and Adolescents.”

 

He stressed that, “These initiatives will incorporate the recommendations of the United Nations and the National Commission of Human Rights, which enable us to achieve a more robust regulatory framework in keeping with the mandates of this Law of Integral Protection for Children and Adolescents.”

 

“With these priorities for 2016, Mexico continues advancing the cause of its children and adolescents,” he said.

 

UNICEF SUPPORTS THIS FASCINATING STAGE THAT BEGINS TODAY

IN THE HISTORY OF MEXICO: ISABEL CROWLEY

 

“Today is a day that could be described as historic for the children of Mexico, because it makes children and adolescents a priority issue on the country’s agenda," said Isabel Crowley, United Nations Fund for Children (UNICEF) representative in Mexico.

 

She declared that the General Law on the Rights of Children and Adolescents provides the basis for achieving more protection, justice and support, “Because at last there will be coordinated management of resources and efforts on behalf of children.”

 

“Enforcing this law is everyone's responsibility, at all levels and at all sectors and levels of government and civil society. That is what the law says,” she explained.

 

Isabel Crowley also noted that the law seeks equal rights, dignity and opportunities. This law, she said, places a brave, necessary milestone in history books. “This generation will be remembered as the one that mobilized, and invested time and resources as well as political capital to respect the rights of 40 million citizens.”

 

Finally, she repeated UNICEF’s support, “For this fascinating stage that begins today in the history of Mexico, because this is by right, for the present and the future, for justice, equality and equity and also by law.”

 

The INTEGRAL PROTECTION SYSTEM WILL make it possible to positively transform the reality experienced by the CHILDREN AND YOUTH OF MEXICO: CNDH

 

Luis Raúl González Pérez, President of the National Human Rights Commission, said that the installation of the National System of Integral Protection for Children and Adolescents is of the utmost importance for Mexico, because it involves creating the most important link that has ever been established between public, private and civil society organizations that will positively transform the reality of children and adolescents in Mexico.

 

“Now,” he added, "There is no excuse. Children and adolescents should be the focus of the programs, actions and policies designed by the Mexican government to ensure the full exercise of all rights.”

 

He said that, “The training we can give our children and adolescents today will determine the Mexicans on which the fate of our country will depend in the coming years.”

 

He explained that the implementation of the National System will, in turn, lead to the creation of local and municipal systems, which will require the swift appointment of  Executive Secretariats in every state.

 

He said that, "Mexico cannot ignore or neglect the more than 40 million children with which this country has a responsibility and commitment to promote their integral development and the optimal development of their potential, which requires a shared commitment by all Mexicans.”

 

He said that this first session will mark the start of the formal work on the preparation and issuance of the National Program established by the General Law on the matter, as well as coordinated actions to diagnose the status of the rights of children and adolescents in our country.

 

THERE IS AN OBVIOUS DESIRE TO IMPROVE THE CONDITION OF CHILDREN AND ADOLESCENTS: CONAGO

 

Ruben Moreira Valdez, Governor of Coahuila and Coordinator of the Human Rights Commission of the National Conference of Governors, said that President Enrique Peña Nieto’s initiative, which is now law, “Shows an obvious desire to improve the condition of children and adolescents.”

 

He said that, “It is very significant that the president’s first preferential initiative should involve this important issue, and that as a result of its passage, legislators from both chambers should have pledged to draw up a text that is now recognized in Mexico and abroad.”

 

On behalf of the governors, he said that the following commitments would be assumed: Install local protection systems as soon as possible, chaired by the governors and the mayor of Mexico City, "Because our presence should ensure that every effort is made by the administrations we lead to ensure the success of the great reform that is already underway or, as Isabel says, for it to reach every corner of the country.”

 

Likewise, support the creation of the National and State Commissions of Executive Secretaries, “As a body that allows us to coordinate the policies to which we are obliged today,” bring the legislation in the states into line with the new law and the Constitution and the international treaties that have been signed. “In this line,” he said, "I would like to emphasize the establishment of 18 as the minimum age for marriage in our legislation,” in order to eliminate child marriage.

 

Moreover, he added, “There is a commitment to reviewing international agencies’ recommendations and evaluations regarding Mexico and to deal with them, “Within the framework of our systems of human rights protection.”

 

He reported that Coahuila has already taken the first steps in this new order of guarantees. It has installed and has an Executive Secretariat and an autonomous prosecutor’s office. He therefore hoped that by April 30, “All the states will have taken part in this paradigm shift.”

 

We want this law to be enforced and for it to give us hope: ORTEGA ALEJANDRO ZAMBRANO, High School Student

 

The children and adolescents in our country want the General Law to protect their rights and to be enforced and for it to give them hope, said high school student Alejandra Ortega Zambrano, noting that, "Mexico is already our country, not just when we are adults.”

 

In this context, the adolescent from Hidalgo expressed her satisfaction with the installation of the National System of Integral Protection for Children and Adolescents, "A space they have given us to express our opinions, requests and which shows their willingness to listen.”

 

She stressed the importance for children and adolescents of frequently participating in this type of event, where decisions are taken for their benefit.

 

“It is very important for Mexican children and adolescents to be listened to and be taken into account in all the decisions that matter to us. What we want to do is participate in  making the new law a reality and ensuring that all children and adolescents check that it is being enforced,” explained Alejandra Ortega.

 

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