Mexico has taken the lead at the UN on a new Arms Treaty Proposal that requires signatory countries to keep records of international transfers of weapons and to prohibit cross-border shipments that could be used in human rights violations or attacks on civilians, but critics say some major players remain on the sidelines.
The United Nations said the treaty would come into force on December 24 after eight more countries submitted their ratifications during the annual General Assembly, pushing the pact past the threshold of 50 countries.
Mexico has a keen interest in the treaty due to the black market of gun sales from the United States into Mexico and arming the drug cartels leading to one of Mexico’s highest homicide rates in history.
In 2006 the US Government began a secret mission of leaking firearms into Mexico and to the cartels. The stated goal of allowing these purchases was to continue to track the firearms as they were transferred to higher-level traffickers and key figures in Mexican cartels, with the expectation that this would lead to their arrests and the dismantling of the cartels. The plan was a failure and leaded to arming the cartel and losing innocent lives.
Under the proposed UN Treaty such government operations would be against international law.
Also this week at the UN, President Enrique Pena Nieto addressed the 69th session of the United Nations General Assembly.
“Today, our planet demands a more effective, efficient, transparent and representative United Nations; a UN where all societies of the world have greater participation. The UN must then, dare to change in order to improve. In Mexico, we firmly believe that the UN has all the powers to be more daring and to renovate itself,” said Enrique Peña Nieto, president of Mexico.
The president of Mexico has been seen as a symbol of renovation on the international stage.
Peña has won approval to let foreign companies and investors hold a stake in Mexico’s national oil company, raising the prospect to vastly increase slackening production. He has rewritten the telecommunications law with a goal to break up the near monopoly of a few private telephone and television companies. And he has undertaken changes in the education system to lessen the grip unions hold in schools, and to improve education in Mexico, where students are far behind those in countries of similar size and levels of development.
Mexico also offered up its military power in UN Peacekeeping Missions. After years of keeping out of the world’s conflicts, Mexico said it was ready to take part in United Nations peacekeeping missions, as the government steps up efforts to raise its profile on the global stage.
“Mexico has taken the decision to participate in U.N. peacekeeping missions, taking part in humanitarian tasks that benefit civil society,” Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto told the U.N. General Assembly in a speech in New York.
Pursuing a traditionally low-key foreign policy, Mexico has only ever been involved in three peacekeeping missions, with the last being in El Salvador in 1992-1993 when it sent 120 police officers to the Central American country.