On November 17th, Mexico and the European Union held the 11th High Level Dialogue on Human Rights in Mexico City.
The Dialogue addressed an extensive array of human rights issues in Mexico and the European Union, including gender equality and the care agenda, femicides, combating gender-based and domestic violence, migrant rights, xenophobia, enforced disappearances, torture prevention, freedom of expression, the protection of human rights defenders, safety of journalists, business and human rights, the impacts of digitalization and new technologies, the promotion of social, economic, and cultural rights as well as multilateral cooperation in the field of human rights.
The Government of Mexico communicated all the steps taken in combating poverty in the country and addressing the structural causes of migration. It also addressed national progress in preventing torture and locating missing persons with the National Program against Torture, The Government of Mexico also presented its efforts to strengthen the Mechanism for the protection of human rights defenders and journalists. Both parties expressed their willingness to continue enhancing cooperation through technical assistance, grants and training programs for human rights issues. On enforced disappearances and torture prevention, parties agreed that recent advancements would be coupled with increased efforts, as well as heightened cooperation.
Regarding business and Human Rights, the EU presented the European Commission’s proposal for a Directive on corporate sustainability due diligence and mentioned the upcoming forced labour legislation, to promote that transnational EU companies comply abroad with European human rights and environmental standards. On the link between the environment and human rights, the EU presented the draft EU Regulation on deforestation-free products. In addition, the parties discussed migration and Human Rights, both focusing on the need to ensure protection and socio-economic integration of migrants and refugees in Mexico and the EU. The European Union also referred to a number of measures aimed at addressing human rights situations in its Member States.
Mexico and the European Union engaged in discussions on digital and emerging technologies, focusing on issues like illicit online surveillance and the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI). The EU outlined its legislative measures in progress, such as the Digital Services Act and the AI Act, emphasizing the importance of upholding the highest human rights standards in these domains.
The Dialogue also spotlighted the collaboration in multilateral fora, marking the 75th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. There was a mutual agreement on the importance of working closely with the United Nations, especially with the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), the UN’s Special Procedures, and Treaty Bodies. Discussions included shared priorities for the Human Rights Council agenda, as well as the 3rd Committee of the UN General Assembly.
The XI Dialogue took place after the 9th EU-Mexico Civil Society Seminar on November 16th, 2023, a collaborative event by Mexican and European NGOs, fostering detailed discussions on human rights developments within both regions. The seminar culminated with actionable recommendations that were introduced during the initial phase of today’s Dialogue. Both the EU and Mexican officials recognized civil society’s dedication, highlighting the crucial role of Human Rights Defenders and journalists, and underscored the need for a safe and enabling environment for their activities.
The session was jointly presided by Joel Hernández, Undersecretary for Multilateral Affairs and Human Rights of the Foreign Ministry of Mexico, and Eamon Gilmore, the EU Special Representative for Human Rights, and included the participation of Félix Arturo Medina Padilla, Undersecretary for Human Rights, Population and Migration of the Ministry of the Interior of Mexico, as well as other authorities from the Federal Government of Mexico and from the European External Action Service. Representatives from EU Member States were also present.
The next High-Level Dialogue will take place in Brussels in 2024.