March 27th, 2018
Mexico City, Mexico—World Youth Alliance Latin America congratulates the Government of Mexico for passing a reform of the General Law of Health (Ley General de Salud) last week that recognizes conscientious objection as a right for healthcare providers. This right is recognized in both the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (art. 18) and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (art. 18). The Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that “[e]veryone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience, and religion [which] includes freedom… to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.” Mexico’s adoption of a law protecting rights of conscience demonstrates its commitment to being a country where human rights have the utmost respect.
Several countries in the world have objection of conscience as part of their legislation, not only for healthcare providers, but all their citizens, as not to require them to act contrary to their deepest values and beliefs. Freedom of conscience means that all people are able to have their own thoughts, beliefs, and morals, and that they are free to act in accordance with these. This is important for human dignity because these deeply held beliefs are part of a person’s character and identity, and should therefore be respected. We hope that Mexico continues to recognize and promote the dignity of everyone including through conscience rights. We urge other countries in the Latin America and the Caribbean region to adopt similar legislations to respect the dignity of all.