News December 11, 2018 at 06:00 am

The U.S. leads in opposing UN pact on safe, orderly and humane migration

Nduta Waweru December 11, 2018 at 06:00 am

December 11, 2018 at 06:00 am | News

Migration has been at the centre of U.S. politics for a while now, with President Donald Trump leading the pack in limiting immigration with controversial policies.

The position of the U.S. government was made clear on Monday when it missed the United Nations-led Global Compact for Migration in Marrakech, Morocco.  It was among countries that expressed reservations over the accord that would see the safe, orderly and humane migrations. Other countries on this list are Hungary, Australia, Israel, Poland, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Austria, Switzerland, Bulgaria, Latvia, Italy, Switzerland and Chile.

The U.S. had bailed out of the pact in 2017, claiming that it would interfere with its sovereignty.

“While we will continue to engage on a number of fronts at the United Nations, in this case, we simply cannot in good faith support a process that could undermine the sovereign right of the United States to enforce our immigration laws and secure our borders,” the then Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson said in 2017.

It reiterated the statement on Friday, December 7, saying that it was “an effort by the United Nations to advance global governance at the expense of the sovereign right of states.”

The UN Secretary General,  António Guterres, stated that the Accord would not interfere with the sovereignty of any nation 

The Compact is not a treaty. Moreover, it is not legally binding.  It is a framework for international cooperation, rooted in an inter-governmental process of negotiation in good faith, that specifically reaffirms the principle of State sovereignty, including “the sovereign right of States to determine their national migration policy and their prerogative to govern migration within their jurisdiction, in conformity with international law.”

So what exactly is the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration?

As the UN Sec Gen says, it is a non-binding agreement that has 23 aims to ensure migrants are treated protected and assisted. Some of these aims include: to get rid of or reduce the obstacles that hinder people from rebuilding their lives in their countries of origin; reduce the risks immigrants face at each stage of immigration by protecting and helping them; address issues faced by communities in the face of migration; and to provide environment conducive for migrants to enrich their societies through their capacities whether economic, social, and cultural.

According to Global People Movement report,  The number of people globally living outside of their country of birth has increased from 173 million in 2000 to 258 million in 2017 and the number of registered refugees has reached a record high at an estimated 25.9 million refugees and asylum seekers as of  mid-2017.

As of 2017, the U.S had received a total of 48  million immigrants as per the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs Data.

Photo: Screengrab, Migration data portal

Some of the anti-immigrant policies the country has put in place include travel bans and refugee suspension, increased immigration enforcement and the phasing out of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, among others.

Despite withdrawals from the U.S. and these 13 countries, the accord passed and is set for a final vote of ratification, December 19 at the UN General Assembly.

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