World 11-12-2018

United Nations approved pact for migration

The United Nations Global Migration Pact was formally approved this Monday in Marrakech (Morocco), in an intergovernmental conference that brought together almost 160 countries.

Highlighting the "efforts" made to reach this pact, the Secretary General of the UN, Antonio Guterres, urged not to "succumb to fear" of migration .

In his opening speech, he denounced the "numerous lies" about this text that provoked criticism from nationalists and supporters of border closures.

The pact, aimed at strengthening international cooperation for a "safe, orderly and regular migration" , must still be submitted to a last vote of ratification on December 19 at the United Nations General Assembly.

The Marrakech conference had to be a purely formal stage in the process but, as the issue unleashed passions, some 15 countries announced their withdrawal or the freezing of their decision on the pact.

Although an official list was not published, about 160 of the 193 countries represented at the UN had confirmed their presence in Marrakech , a hundred of them with their heads of state, government or ministers.

The pact, which is non-binding, gathers principles (defense of human rights, of children, recognition of national sovereignty) and lists proposals to help countries cope with migrations, such as the exchange of information and experience or the integration of the migrants.

It also prohibits arbitrary detentions and only authorizes arrests as a measure of last resort.

Human rights activists believe that the agreement does not go far enough in terms of humanitarian aid, basic services and labor rights for migrants. Its detractors consider it an incitement to uncontrolled migratory flows.

258 million migrants

In the world there are around 258 million people in mobility and migrants , that is, 3.4% of the world population.

The United States, which had withdrawn from drafting the text in December 2017, considering it contrary to President Donald Trump's immigration policy, launched a new attack on Friday.

"Decisions about border security, about who is allowed to reside legally or obtain citizenship, are some of the most important sovereign decisions a country can take," the US diplomatic mission said in a statement.

Washington has struggled in recent months to share its opinion on the pact with other signatory countries, especially in Europe, according to UN diplomats.

So far, nine countries withdrew from the process , having approved the text on July 13 in New York: Austria, Australia, Chile, Czech Republic, Dominican Republic, Hungary, Latvia, Poland and Slovakia. Six others wanted to have more internal consultations: Belgium, Bulgaria, Estonia, Italy, Slovenia and Switzerland, according to Louise Arbor.

On Saturday there were riots in Ottawa between pro-immigrant groups and right-wing militants opposed to the pact. But Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau plans to sign it: "Welcoming people from around the world through a rigorous immigration system is what makes Canada a strong country," he said.

The German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, also in favor of the text, was present in Morocco, as were the heads of government of Spain, Pedro Sánchez, Grecia, Alexis Tsipras or the Belgian Charles Michel.

In a highly praised speech, Merkel made a plea in favor of multilateralism and recalled the history of her country, marked by Nazism.

"The response to pure nationalism was the founding of the United Nations and the commitment to find together answers to our common problems," he said.

For his part, Pedro Sanchez said that the text will " feed the positive effects of migration and combat its negative impacts ."

The decision of the Belgian Prime Minister, Chales Michel, to travel to Morocco, exploited his governmental coalition with the Flemish nationalists of the N-VA, after several days of tension.

This anti-immigration party held a meeting in Brussels on Saturday with Marine Le Pen, leader of the French extreme right; and Steve Bannon, ex-adviser of Donald Trump, to denounce the pact, denounced by populists from all over the EU a few months before the European elections, in May.

French President Emmanuel Macron, faced with the protests of the "yellow vests" that shake the country for three weeks decided not to travel and send to Morocco the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne.

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