Briefing Notes, 11 February 2014
This is a summary of what was said by UNHCR spokesperson Melissa Fleming – to whom quoted text may be attributed – at the press briefing, on 11 February 2014, at the Palais des Nations in Geneva.
We are welcoming a decision by the Mexican Senate that approved a Presidential initiative to withdraw reservations that Mexico had made at the time of becoming party to the 1951 Refugees Convention and the 1954 Stateless Convention.
Mexico had reservations to Article 32 of the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees (became a party in 2000) and Article 31 of the 1954 Convention relating to the Status of Stateless Persons (became a party in 2000). These reservations were related to the state's powers to expel foreigners – including asylum seekers, refugees and stateless people. Under previous provisions of its constitution, Mexico could expel people in need of international protection to a third country – not to the country of origin – without following due process.
The latest constitutional reforms emphasize Mexico's commitment to human rights treaties and ensure that foreigners – including asylum-seekers, refugees, stateless people and others, are protected in Mexico. It also guarantees minimal due process and protection in the context of immigration administrative procedures.
Mexico had pledged to review its reservations to the 1951 Refugee Convention at a ministerial conference in 2011 in Geneva.
We have worked with the office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) and the International Organization of Migration (IOM) in providing technical assistance to Mexican authorities in amending the constitution and promoting the withdrawal of these reservations.
The 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees has 148 States parties. The 1954 Convention relating to the Status of Stateless Persons has 80 States parties.
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