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Global Compact for Migration: absentees of Marrakesh

Two weeks before the World Summit in Marrakesh, which will see the adoption of the Global Compact for safe migration, orderly and regular, the list of countries resistant to this text, believed to promote a coordinated and harmonious management of migration internationally, elongates. Nearly 10 countries for the moment, American and European, mainly concerned by the migration issue, have decided not to report to Marrakesh, from December 10 to 11, to sign this text which was finalized last July.

In addition to the US, which withdrew from this pact in 2017, well before the rounds of negotiations that began in February 2018, other countries have joined the list of absentees from Marrakesh. These are Hungary, Austria, Australia, Poland, Israel, the Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Estonia …. Some countries supposed to approve this text without difficulty, like Switzerland, which took part in its drafting, have postponed indefinitely their decision to sign the pact, given the opposition of certain parliamentary committees. It must be said that the turnaround of several states on the Covenant alert the controversy around the said text, despite it was finalized last July. Faced with this massive rejection of the Covenant by several European countries, the Director General of the International Organization for Migration (IOM), Antonio Vitorino, said last weekend that “it is in the interest of European countries support the United Nations for the adoption of the Global Compact on Migration in December in Marrakesh”.

“Europeans need to break their differences and go beyond their differences to speak with one voice,” he said. If the reasons vary from one country to another, the different countries, which will not appear in Marrakesh, argue that the pact encourages migration flows and does not allow states to exercise their sovereignty. For example, Australia, which withdrew from the Pact on 20 November, fears that the Pact “may encourage illegal entry and challenge Australia’s hard-won success in combating smuggling.” In a statement, the government harshly criticized the text, saying it “does not distinguish between people who enter Australia illegally and those who come in the right way, especially regarding the provision of social benefits and other aid”. Israel, for its part, ruled that “this agreement contains elements incompatible with the interests of the country. For example, family reunification for migrants. “We are a small country with a complicated geographical location. We are not like Germany, which can absorb millions of people, “said a diplomatic source of the country.

In addition to the rejection by some states, several petitions have been launched online by individuals or associations to counter their country’s signature of the Covenant. For example: “No to the UN pact for migrants” initiated by the Action for an Independent and Neutral Switzerland (ASIN). Even in France where the pact is supported, notably by President Emmanuel Macron, a petition has been launched by the “French Renaissance” association.

Indeed, the Global Migration Pact assumes that migration is a factor of “prosperity, innovation and sustainable development”, hence the importance of better managing it. Even if the text is not binding for the States, it promotes, in particular the encouragement of the migration and not its control. It also aims to change perceptions about migration.

Only a few European countries such as France, Germany … defend the Covenant tooth and nail. The fear would be to move towards a signature of the pact primarily by African States, as the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families of 1990, which was ratified on that date by no European country. Which would not allow to advance on the resolution of the subject at the international level.

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