World leaders gathered in Marrakech, Morocco, to sign the UN Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration on Monday / Photo: Screenshot/Aljazeera

7 EU member states, US fail to sign UN Global Pact on Migration

World leaders gathered in Marrakech, Morocco, to sign the UN Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration on Monday. A number of countries have refused to sign the non-binding accord, among them the US and 7 EU member states.

The world’s first-ever global pact on how to deal with migration was adopted on Monday by 164 countries at a conference in Marrakesh, Morocco.

The UN pact aimed to set out some basic principles over migration, such as saving lives. UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres described the nonbinding accord, which was finalized 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.

Felix Dappah


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