Mexico City: a law to embed interculturality in the city policies

 

A Forum in interculturality and Human Mobility took place at the end of August in Mexico City, aimed at reviewing policies and experiences and providing critical input for Mexico Cityís future intercultural strategy.

 

Mexico City is a truly multicultural place. Human mobility and international migration have played an important role throughout its history. The cityís municipality has introduced various policy initiatives which have helped to successfully manage a diverse population. The current global context is posing considerable threats to migrant men and women and Mexico City is raising to the challenge.

 

Historically, ethnic communities formed in the city because of their right to asylum. The cityís diverse population is also due to the open and hospitable nature which characterizes Mexican society. Nowadays, the cityís 30 million population comes from different nationalities, backgrounds, and has diverse languages, religions and beliefs. Its citizens also perceive diversity as a resource and recognize that all cultures change when in public spaces.

 

The city has a long tradition of creating policies and laws which safeguard the fundamental rights of individuals. The municipality tailors its social polices towards the needs of its diverse population. Active involvement and engagement with the citizens is one of the "best practice" recommendations of the Intercultural Cities initiative. This approach promotes "community ownership" and a sense of belonging to the community.

 

Mexico City is in the process of adopting a law titled "Hospitality, Intercultural Attention to Migrants and Human Mobility in the Federal District". It recognizes that there is an urgent need for legislation specifically targeted at migrants, as they are one of the most vulnerable members of society. This initiative will provide a clear response to racist and discriminatory discourse and acts and support initiatives encouraging diversity as a resource for the city. The draft law takes a positive stance on human mobility and international migration and recognizes that they have played a pivotal role throughout human history and contributed significantly to the development of societies and the enrichment of cultures.

 

The draft law lays down the "ground work", or tools, to reduce the vulnerability and increase the inclusion of migrants in Mexico City. It sets policy, mechanisms and standards in the areas of hospitality, multiculturalism and human mobility for migrant families in the capital. It also promotes the participation of migrants as well as the public and private sectors in social planning, implementation and monitoring of polices and programmes arising from the enforcement of the law.

 

The role and power of the Federal Ministry and its commission on Intercultural and Human Mobility are clearly established in the draft law. The Ministry will have a special administrative unit for the exercise of its powers in respect of hospitality, multiculturalism, attention to migrants and their families in Mexico City. The commission is an inter-agency coordinating body based on the principles of social equity, diversity, integrity, participatory democracy, accountability and transparency. Examples of powers that the commission will have include: participating in planning; implementing and evaluating policies, programs; monitoring compliance with its resolutions and agreements.

 

y Thomas Pavan-Woolfe