- The president co-chaired the Leaders’ Summit on Refugees, together with US President Barack Obama, and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.
- The nations of the world are saying no to indifference, he said.
- Over the past three years, 12,000 applications for refugee status have been received; in the first eight months of 2016, there have been five thousand, four times more than in 2013, he said.
- He outlined seven specific actions Mexico is promoting to provide more dignified, humane treatment of migrants and refugees.
At the United Nations (UN) Headquarters, President Enrique Peña Nieto co-chaired the Leaders’ Summit on Refugees, together with US President Barack Obama, and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, in which he said: Mexico urges the international community to show solidarity with refugees and ensure their integration into the host communities:
As part of his second day of activities at the 71st Session of the UN General Assembly, the Mexican president said that, “With the High Level Meeting to Address Large Movements of Refugees and Migrants, and this Leaders’ Summit on Refugees, the nations of the world are saying no to indifference”.
President Peña Nieto stressed the situation in the region of Central America, “where the violence created by organized crime, coupled with the drought caused by climate change, is displacing entire communities, forcing thousands of people to flee their countries”.
He noted that between 2012 and 2016, the flow of Central American migration to Mexico has increased by 286 percent. He said more than 400,000 people cross Mexico’s southern border each year. “Although the vast majority of these migrants cross Mexico on their way to the United States, many choose to request asylum and remain in Mexico”.
He noted that, “As a result, in the past three years we have received nearly 12,000 applications for refugee status; in the first eight months of this year alone, we had five thousand applications, four times more than in 2013”.
He outlined seven specific actions Mexico is promoting to provide more dignified, humane treatment of migrants and refugees.
One. Strengthen dialogue with the authorities in Central American countries and the United States and Canada to act in a responsible manner.
Two. Promote the socioeconomic inclusion of those recognized as refugees.
Three. Reinforce eligibility procedures based on international standards.
Four. Strengthen the presence of the Mexican Commission for Aid to Refugees in places where the highest number of applications are registered. “We will therefore increase the number of Commission personnel by 80 per cent over the coming months”.
Five. Promote alternatives to prevent the administrative detention of asylum seekers, particularly children. “We are working to ensure that no child under 11 is held at a detention center”.
Six. Information campaigns to the publicize the right to seek refuge with the support of UNHCR and civil society organizations.
Seven. The application of protocols identifying the need for international protection for unaccompanied or separated children and adolescents.
After urging other countries to take up this challenge and act in a jointly responsible manner, he said that he had shared these actions, “So that they would be useful references for other countries”.
The Mexican president congratulated President Barack Obama on this initiative, which, he said, “Is a great opportunity for the international community to assume new commitments to the world’s refugees”.
He said that, “Mexico is proud to co-chair this important summit for one of the finest causes of humanity. This effort joins the London Conference to support Syria and the region, which united us around one of the most serious humanitarian crises in decades”.
President Peña Nieto concluded by saying, "At that meeting, Mexico pledged financial support, which we will have to increase on this occasion”.
The Leaders’ Summit on Refugees also attended by the King Abdullah II of Jordan, Prime Minister of Canada Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Ethiopia Hailemariam Desalegn and British Prime Minister Theresa May, among other dignitaries.