Highlights of UN global migration pact and how it affects Africa
London, Dec. 12, 2018 (AltAfrica)-The Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration “is designed to enhance safety and order in migration management, reduce recourse to dangerous, chaotic migratory routes, seeking to maximise all the benefits of human mobility and mitigate its challenges.” said Louise Arbour
By that simple explanation Louise Arbour, UN Special Representative for International Migration dispelled the myth that the new unbinding “world order” seeks to create new “Rights for Migrants or imposes obligations on Member States and infringes on their sovereignty”.
The world’s first-ever global pact on how to deal with migration was adopted on Monday, December 10, by 164 countries at a conference in Marrakesh, Morocco
The UN pact sets out some basic principles over migration, such as saving lives. UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres described the nonbinding accord, which was finalised in July after 18 months of talks, as a “roadmap to prevent suffering and chaos,” rejecting claims that it would allow the UN to impose migration policies on member states.
German Chancellor Angel Merkel hailed the compact as a “milestone” for the international community and its handling of migrants. She called migration “natural ” and “also good, when it’s legal.”
The pact states that it is designed to “foster international cooperation among all relevant actors on migration, acknowledging that no state can address migration alone, and upholds the sovereignty of states and their obligations under international law.”
Despite its non-binding nature, a number of countries, including the United States, refused to sign the pact, insisting that it would increase migration and make it harder for individual countries to refuse migrants.
Critics also argue that the agreement does not distinguish between economic migrants and refugees.
Hungary, Australia, Israel, Poland, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Austria, Switzerland, Bulgaria, Latvia, Italy, Switzerland and Chile have also all either refused to sign it or expressed reservations.
The non-binding UN agreement that EU countries already supported earlier this year has caused an unlikely and unexpected political turmoil in many member states, shaking governing coalitions and prompting the departure of Slovakia’s foreign minister. Moreover, resistance to the deal led to the exit of the largest party in Belgium’s coalition government at the weekend.
How does it affects African migrants
Former Liberian president Ellen Johnson Sirleaf told UN News in an interview, how the adoption of the pact would be of benefit to Africa. She said it should help stop some of the ill-treatment faced by Africans on the move, “the small numbers that have tried to cross borders illegally”, she said, and maintain the fight against poverty to try and stop young people from leaving home in the first place.
Ms. Sirleaf, who chaired the High-Level panel on International Migration in Africa, admitted that the Compact will also enable African countries to find ways to ensure that “the people who cross the borders are given humane treatment, the dignity they deserve.”
Here, at a glance, are key points and details
WHAT IS IT? A non-binding, voluntary agreement that aims to ensure “safe, orderly and regular migration.”
WHY? Because migration is such a huge economic, social, political and health issue, affecting nearly every country. The U.N.’s International Organisation for Migration estimates there are 1 billion migrants worldwide, or nearly one in every seven humans.
HOW WILL IT WORK? The pact encourages countries to work together, mentioning the word “cooperation” 62 times, and to fight discrimination against migrants.
WHO SUPPORTS IT? German Chancellor Angela Merkel was a key backer.
WHO OPPOSES IT? At least nine countries. In a detailed critique , the Trump administration said it could not “support a ‘compact’ or process” that could “impose” policy. It also said the agreement failed to “distinguish adequately” between legal and illegal immigrants. Many eastern European countries, and more recently Italy and Belgium, also voiced misgivings.
WHAT DOES THE U.N. SAY? Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said: “We are not establishing a new right to migrate. No. There is not a right for anyone to go anywhere at any time according to his or her whim. What we are establishing is the obligation to respect the human rights of migrants.”
The U.N. says more than 80 percent of the world’s migrants move between countries “in a safe and orderly fashion.” And most migration is “South-South” — between countries in the southern hemisphere — not among people seeking to reach richer northern countries.
DIRECT FROM THE UN
The adoption by more than 160 governments of the first-ever global migration pact is a triumph of multilateralism and highlights the importance of dispelling “myths” and fear-mongering over the issue, said the UN’s senior migration official on Tuesday, bringing the key two-day Marrakech conference to a close.
The Member States who took part in the intergovernmental conference in Morocco “committed to a global migration framework based on facts not myths,” said Louise Arbour, UN Special Representative for International Migration, speaking at a closing press conference, adding that the framework would protect their national interests and enable better cooperation.
She said the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration “is designed to enhance safety and order in migration management, and reduce recourse to dangerous, chaotic migratory routes”, revealing that “it seeks to maximise all the benefits of human mobility and mitigate its challenges.”
A central promise of the non-binding pact is that it “reinforces, unambiguously, the fundamental principle that migrants everywhere should be treated with dignity and fairness,” added Ms. Arbour.
She called on the governments who did not join to reconsider their position. She told them, “I urge you to read it carefully and of course form your own opinion. In doing so, listen to the Secretary-General’s dispelling of the myths about the Compact.”
A former top Canadian judge, who also served as the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Ms. Arbour, told sceptical nations who had decided not to be in Marrakech that “under international human rights law citizens of a country have the right to enter, stay and leave their country but they don’t have a right to go anywhere else unless they seek asylum, or are authorized by another country to enter its territory.”
Ms. Arbour reiterated Secretary-General António Guterres’s call to banish the myths surrounding migration, and the international accord, saying that “it is not correct to suggest it imposes obligations on Member States and infringes on their sovereignty. It does nothing of the sort, and it is not binding, as a treaty would be.”
‘Full of energy and conviction’ for next phase: Arbour
The Compact also does not create any new right to migrate, she added. She reminded developed economies that migration is a net gain, and a boost to the work force. On the other hand, when countries host refugees and those forced to flee, “they should be assisted and celebrated, as they make the world a better place for all of us.”
Ms. Arbour thanked the Kingdom of Morocco for hosting the conference and enabling “this historic moment for migration and multilateralism” to unfold in Marrakesh. “We leave Marrakesh full of energy and conviction. With the Global Compact, we have an opportunity to embark on a new phase of cooperation on migration,” she said.
More than 2,000 delegates made the trip to the Moroccan desert and the specially erected conference facility, including government officials, representatives of business, labour unions, civil society, mayors and many others who have a vital role to play in ensuring that migration is managed in a manner that benefits all.
Implementation must come next
The Moroccan Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Nasser Bourita, stressed the importance his country attaches to multilateralism in addressing migration and other pressing international issues.
He told reports that Member States had demonstrated in Marrakesh, that “migration unites more than it divides”. He said adoption of the pact represents only the first step, which must be followed now by implementation, urging everyone to maintain momentum. Mr. Nasser hailed the Secretary-General’s initiative to launch the UN Network on Migration, describing it as the cornerstone to the Compact. Reports from UN,VOA