On 10 July 2020 the European Union and Mexico held the 9th session of the High-Level Dialogue on Human Rights by videoconference. The meeting was co-chaired by the European Union Special Representative for Human Rights, Mr Eamon Gilmore, and the Mexican Vice-Minister for Multilateral Affairs and Human Rights of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mrs. Martha Delgado Peralta.
The Dialogue’s previous session took place on 26 October 2018, in Brussels. The Dialogue, was preceded by the VII EU-Mexico Civil Society Organisations’ Seminar which was held on 9 July 2020 by videoconference. The Seminar allowed for an exchange of views and experiences on the situation of human rights in the EU and Mexico. The Seminar conclusions were presented as recommendations to the European Union and Mexican authorities during the High Level Dialogue’s opening segment.
The Human Rights Dialogue between the EU and Mexico offers a unique platform for both sides to update one another on the situation on the ground, exchange points of view and strengthen cooperation on human rights. The exceptional time of the COVID-19 global pandemic creates new challenges in the two regions. Discussions also focused on ways of preventing the global health crisis from exacerbating existing problems.
Both parties took stock of existing progress and challenges and showed willingness to strengthen their cooperation in the promotion and protection of human rights in the EU and Mexico, as well as at a multilateral and global level. Mexico’s election to a non-permanent Member seat at the United Nations’ Security Council and to the Economic and Social Council, as well as its current membership of the Human Rights Council,, provides further opportunities for the EU and Mexico, strong like-minded partners, to join forces in the multilateral arena.
The parties also addressed a number of bilateral issues. They discussed human rights in the framework of the global crisis triggered by COVID-19, with a specific focus on health rights for vulnerable populations. They also discussed gender equality and ways to step up the fight against gender-based and domestic violence against women and girls, highlighting the importance of the global EU-UN Spotlight Initiative as a platform to tackle gender-based violence and feminicide in the context of the pandemic.
The parties discussed discrimination and rights of indigenous peoples, Afro descendant, refugees, and migrant populations; xenophobic, hate speech and far-right extremism; free worship, practice, observance, and manifestation of religion; and religious minorities’ oppression. Issues related to torture, enforced disappearances, impunity, rule of law, human rights defenders and the protection of journalists, and freedom of expression were also raised. The parties condemned all kinds of discrimination, they rejected attacks against, and expressed support for, those who fight for upholding the rule of law, free speech and human rights.
The parties concluded the meeting by debating business and human rights, with a focus on the UN Guiding Principles and the negotiations of a Legally Binding Instrument on the matter.
The 9th session of the Dialogue reaffirmed the close relationship between Mexico and the EU based on shared values and a common vision. In this regard, both parties confirmed their strong commitment to multilateralism and a rules-based international order, as well as to human rights, agreeing to envisage further cooperation on these matters.
They committed to hold the next EU-Mexico High Level Dialogue on Human Rights in 2021 and agreed to discuss specific issues by videoconference, as needed, to ensure proper follow-up.
During the dialogue, the parties agreed to work together to strengthen multilateralism, especially for universal access to the Covid-19 vaccine, a fundamental issue that requires that global institutions be at the forefront of guaranteeing a fair and equitable access for low and middle-income countries.
In the Dialogue also participated: the European External Action Service (EEAS) Principal Advisor on Gender, Mara Marinaki; the Head of the EEAS Division for Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean, Katja Afheldt; the Head of the EEAS Division for Human Rights, Luisa Ragher; the Acting Head of the EU Delegation in Mexico City Jean-Pierre Bou; representatives of EU Member States; the Mexican Ambassador to the European Union, Amb. Mauricio Escanero Figueroa; the Director General for Human Rights and Democracy at the Mexican Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Dr. Cristopher Ballinas Valdés; the Director General for Europe at the Mexican Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Bernardo Aguilar Calvo; and the Director General for Liaison with Civil Society Organisations at the Mexican Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Javier Jileta Verduzco.