Mexico ratifies Inter-American conventions against racism and discrimination

Washington, D.C. January 22, 2020. Yesterday, the Diplomatic Mission of Mexico to the Organization of American States (OAS) deposited an instrument of ratification to the Inter-American Convention Against Racism, Racial Discrimination and Related Forms of Intolerance with the Secretary General of the OAS , thus advancing its commitments to eliminate, prevent, prohibit, and sanction all acts and forms of discrimination and intolerance within Mexico. Additionally, the State of Mexico also ratified the Inter-American Convention Against All Forms of Discrimination and Intolerance. Because Mexico is the second OAS Member State to ratify this Convention, it will now enter into force in the region. 

The deposit of both instruments was carried out this Tuesday morning by the Ambassador of Mexico to the OAS, Luz Elena Baños, and the Director General for Human Rights and Democracy at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Cristofer Ballinas.

“The deposit of these instruments of ratification is proof of Mexico’s broad openness to international scrutiny, and demonstrates a shared responsibility to confront the many great global challenges that are part of our country’s active and multilateral foreign policy,” said the Sub-Secretary for Multilateral Affairs and Human Rights of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Mexico, Martha Delgado, via video published on social media channels.

“With these actions, our country seeks to spark regional efforts that are necessary for us to guarantee an understanding among all the countries that make up this organization, which is to guarantee respect for the integrity and dignity of all persons regardless of their gender, race. or sexual orientation,” added Delgado.

Convention Against Racism

The first step to adhere to the Convention is to sign the document, which was done by the State of Mexico on November 13, 2018. Following the signature, countries must ratify the document internally, following their own constitutional processes. The Mexican Mission had done these two steps and moved forward in the process, finally depositing the instrument of ratification of the Convention with the OAS. The next step is the Convention’s entry into force within Mexico, which will be 30 days from today.

With the ratification of the Inter-American Convention Against Racism, Racial Discrimination and Related Forms of Intolerance, Mexico becomes the fifth country in the region where it enters into force. Since its inception in June 2013, the Convention has been signed and ratified by Costa Rica, Uruguay, Antigua & Barbuda, and Ecuador.

The Convention states that all States Parties must adopt specific policies and affirmative actions that seek to promote conditions of equality, equal opportunity, inclusion, and advancement for people or groups subjected to racism, discrimination, or intolerance; to adopt legislation that clearly defines and prohibits racism, discrimination, and intolerance; to ensure that victims of racism, discrimination, or intolerance are treated with equity and respect; to ensure equal access to the judicial system, to swift and effective legal proceedings, and to a just reparation in civil and penal matters, among other requirements.

Convention Against All Forms of Discrimination

Furthermore, Mexico is the second country to ratify the Inter-American Convention Against All Forms of Discrimination & Intolerance, after Uruguay.

The Convention states that all State parties must prevent, eliminate, prohibit, and punish, in accordance with their constitutional norms and the provisions of this Convention, all acts and manifestations of discrimination and intolerance, and to adopt the special policies and affirmative actions needed to ensure the enjoyment or exercise of rights and fundamental freedoms of persons or groups that are subject to discrimination or intolerance for the purpose of promoting equitable conditions for equal opportunity, inclusion, and progress for such persons or groups.

Statement

Race and Equality considers this as important step for the region, where, concerningly, we have observed an increase in the levels of racism and discrimination. As such, it is essential for all States to take the necessary national, regional, and international means to protect the rights of vulnerable groups against structural racism and all forms of discrimination, in order to create equal and tolerant societies. The expectations of these two Conventions are great, but we hope that they will be further developed and perfected as they are ratified and put into use.

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