The Malta Independent 25 May 2020, Monday

Malta supports United Nations compact on migration

Albert Galea Monday, 10 December 2018, 13:08 Last update: about 2 years ago

Malta will provide its support to a United Nations global compact for safe, orderly and regular migration along with the vast majority of the UN’s member states.

This was confirmed by Foreign Affairs Minister Carmelo Abela, who said that he had touched down in Marrakech in Morocco to join other countries in supporting this compact. 

The pact outlines 23 objectives for the management of migration at local, national, regional and global levels. It calls for more cross-border cooperation and looks to minimise factors and driving forces that push people into leaving their home countries.

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It also calls for migrants to be provided with the proper documentation and identity papers, whilst also advocating the creation of conditions to allow migrants to contribute to sustainable development in all countries, along with cooperation for the safe return and readmission of migrants to their home countries.

The pact is non-binding and it makes it amply clear that there is no stipulation or obligation that a country has to take in a certain number of migrants.

In a statement on his Facebook page, Abela said that the pact was an historic one, with it being the first negotiated between countries across the world that will look at the international migratory dynamics in a holistic and comprehensive manner.

Abela said that the agreement is not legally binding, but that it is merely a declaration of political intentions to improve the management of international migration, whilst also affirming the sovereign right of every state to determine its own national politics on migration, in accordance with international law.

There are some notable absentees from the meeting in Morocco, with the USA, Hungary Italy, Australia, Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Poland and Switzerland all choosing to opt out of signing the compact.  Belgium meanwhile saw the ruling coalition collapse over the pact, but Prime Minister Charles Michel was in Morocco himself to sign the pact anyway.

The objections to the pact are varied and with criticism that it brings the rights of asylum seekers  and economic migrants closer together being one of the centrepiece complaints by non-signatories and non-supporters.

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