Global perspective Human stories

At UN, Mexico urges countries to increase measures to combat illegal drug trade

President Felipe Calderón Hinojosa of Mexico addresses General Assembly.
UN Photo/Marco Castro
President Felipe Calderón Hinojosa of Mexico addresses General Assembly.

At UN, Mexico urges countries to increase measures to combat illegal drug trade

In his remarks to the United Nations General Assembly today, Mexican President Felipe Calderón Hinojosa today strongly urged Member States to increase their efforts to combat the illegal drug trade, stressing that it is necessary to explore new options to find a solution to this scourge, which claims thousands of lives every year.

“Mexico has suffered for years the consequences of inaction before this criminal activity. Protecting Mexicans from criminality has been a legal, political and moral imperative for my Government,” President Calderón told the 67th Assembly’s General Debate, at UN Headquarters in New York. “However, Mexico notes with deep regret that the determination which we use to combat these criminal organizations is not the same in all countries.”

The Mexican President emphasized that drug consumer countries have not made progress in reducing their levels of consumption, in order to decrease global demand, and underlined that these nations must redouble their efforts to treat this as a public health issue.

“We need preventive policies against addiction and media campaigns that make youth around the world understand that addictions are the 21st century form of slavery,” he stated.

However, he said, these policies need to be accompanied by a strategy which stops the extraordinarily high flow of money to criminal organizations.

“The enormous profits from the black market due to prohibition have exacerbated the ambition of criminals, increasing the massive flow of resources to their organizations and allowing them to create powerful networks,” President Calderón said, noting that with unlimited resources, criminal organizations can corrupt authorities as well as resort to cruelty and violence.

“Thousands and thousands of young people in Latin America have died because of drug trafficking-related violence, and, in particular, the nations that are suffering the most are the ones located between the drug-producing zone in the Andes and the main drug market: the United States,” he added.

In his statement to the General Debate, President Calderón also underscored that stricter international arms controls are needed, and noted, with disappointment, that there had been no agreement in this area during the recent Conference on the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT).

At the four-week long conference, held in New York in July, representatives of the 193 UN Member States failed to reach agreement on a treaty that would have set common standards to regulate the international trade in conventional arms. The treaty was seen as the most important initiative ever regarding conventional arms regulation within the United Nations. According to media reports, some countries had indicated they needed more time to consider the issues.

The Mexican leader stated that every alternative to eliminate profits to criminals must be explored, including market regulation. He also called on developed countries to assume responsibility and, in addition to their efforts to reduce demand, stop the flow of resources that finance criminal networks.

In addition, he called on the UN to take action on this issue the way it has done to combat famine, disease and climate change. “I urge the UN to not only take part but to lead a 21st century discussion that, without false prejudices, can lead us all to find solutions to this problem under new frameworks.”

President Calderón is one of many national leaders and other high-level officials who are presenting their views and comments on issues of individual national and international relevance at the Assembly’s General Debate, which ends on 1 October.