165 UN Member States Finally Approve ‘Mutual’ Global Migration Pact

United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres. UN Photo/Jean-Marc Ferré (file)

Of the 193 member states of the United Nations, heads of state and government of 165 attending the first-ever intergovernmental migration conference in Marrakech, Morocco, have unanimously adopted a mutual cooperation document dubbed the ‘Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration.’

At the end of first plenary session on Monday, the 23-count agreement, which covers all aspects of migration, reaffirms the New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants of 2016, and intends to significantly enhance cooperation amongst member states on issues relating to international movement of people – mainly in large numbers.

The United Nations Secretary General António Guterres had said more than 60,000 people have died as a result of the risks associated with large migrations, including the ‘exodus’ via the Mediterranean.

In clear terms, the implementation of the “non-binding” deal rests on the Charter of the United Nations; Universal Declaration of Human Rights; International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights; and the UN Convention On the Prevention of Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children, as well as the Protocol against the Smuggling of Migrants.

These are just a few of several other human rights-linked objectives upon which the migration compact relies, with a guiding principle on the part of member signatory countries – though with respect for sovereignty – to collectively, consciously commit to working together in finding concrete solutions to the increasing wave of migration that spurs from varying factors, including escape from armed conflict, poverty, food insecurity, persecution, terrorism, or human rights violations and abuses, and unemployment.

This treaty also means that countries of transit and destination for migrants are expected to provide protection and respect for refugees and migrants in keeping with international laws.

The Public Information Officer of the UN Special Representative for International Migration, Charbel Raji, told the Liberia News Agency in an interview that each of the 23 objectives in the compact comprises a general goal and catalogue of possible strategies that countries may choose to utilize in implementing their national migration policies.

Notwithstanding, 10 countries, for various reasons, have backed out of the Global Compact for Migration during the discourse that led to the Marrakech accord.

They include the United States of America, Australia, Austria, Czech Republic, Hungary, Dominican Republic, Latvia, Poland, and Slovakia.

In the meantime, Belgium, Bulgaria, Italy, Israel, Slovenia, Switzerland and Estonia are said to be engaged with internal deliberations with their respective parliaments on issues surrounding migration and how they can deal with it, making it unclear at the moment what their next course of action would be in view of the latest global document.

Meanwhile, the President of the United Nations General Assembly, María Fernanda Espinosa Garcés, told a news conference in Marrakech, immediately following the adoption that the General Assembly will further endorse the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration on December 19.

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