In another blow for the UN, the Czech Republic has become the latest country to pull out of the Global Compact on Migration. They follow in the steps of other EU countries such as Hungary and Austria in rejecting the accords.
The Global Compact for Safe Orderly Migration was designed by the UN to regulate and harmonise the world’s approach to refugees. It includes 23 “objectives” to better define the rights of people fleeing their home countries. The compact was signed by all 193 member countries of the UN, apart from the United States, in July of this year, after President Trump had previously rejected it for creating a global order with “no borders, everyone can come in”. The White House further added that the plan was “simply not compatible with US sovereignty”.
On Wednesday, the Czech cabinet became the latest in a growing list of governments who have voted against the accords. “The Czech Republic has long favored the principle of separating legal and illegal migration,” the Czech Deputy Prime Minister, Richard Brabec, told reporters in a news conference. “That is what the Czech Republic’s and other European countries’ suggestions aimed for. The final text does not reflect those proposals”, he added.
They now join the US, along with Hungary and Austria in rejecting the plan. They are expected to be joined by some of the other populist governments of Europe, including Poland, who has signaled their dissatisfaction with the accords, and Bulgaria, whose Parliament is due a debate on the issue this week.
Frey Lindsey, writing in Forbes, dismissed the concerns of anti-migration activists, arguing that their opposition was simply “sound and fury”:
“The website of the far-right Alternative for Germany claims the pact is a “hidden resettlement plan for economic migrants” and that it will “incentivize further immigration to Germany”… This idea is directly refuted by the words of the pact: “Only refugees are entitled to the specific international protection as defined by international refugee law.” It also falls down again on the same point that the compact is not legally binding, and countries would not (and could not) be forced by the UN to accept new classes of migrants through quota systems or forced resettlement”.
The Czech Prime Minister, Andrej Babis, defended the decision taken by his government despite the non-binding nature of the agreement. The real danger in the text according to Babis is that “it, in fact, defines migration as a basic human right”. Whilst the rest of the text may be not be binding, this could therefore be built upon and fully enshrined as a right by future legislation and compacts.