Malta to endorse UN global compact on migration

Malta is to endorse the UN migration pact as global meeting gets underway in Morocco today

The compact is non-binding and comprises 23 objectives for the management of migration at local, national, regional and global levels
The compact is non-binding and comprises 23 objectives for the management of migration at local, national, regional and global levels

Malta has long advocated a global response to the migration phenomenon, which is why it will endorse the UN migration pact in Morocco this week.

Foreign Minister Carmelo Abela said the pact was “an important political declaration” and the first UN document that deals with migration in a comprehensive manner.

He confirmed that Malta will endorse the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration, at a two-day meeting in Marrakech that starts today.

The compact is non-binding and comprises 23 objectives for the management of migration at local, national, regional and global levels.

However, it has been met with resistance from some countries, including several EU member states.

The compact calls for cross-border cooperation and strives to minimise the “adverse drivers and structural factors” that force people to leave their home countries.

It also calls for migrants to be provided with adequate documentation and identity papers and promotes the saving of lives.

The compact advocates the creation of conditions to allow migrants to contribute to sustainable development in all countries and cooperation on a safe return and readmission of migrants to their home countries if necessary.

The UN declaration makes it clear that it is non-binding and does not stipulate any mandatory number of migrants to be accepted by a country.

While a vast majority of the 193 UN member states will endorse the pact, there will be some notable absences in Morocco, including the US, Hungary, Italy, Australia, Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Poland and Switzerland.

The objections to the pact are varied and include criticism that it conflates the rights of asylum seekers and economic migrants.

The anti-migration Maltese Patriots Movement last week urged the government not to sign up to the pact, which it described as an affront to national sovereignty.

But Foreign Minister Carmelo Abela said that despite the focus on countries that will not adopt the compact, the expectation was that it will be adopted by the vast majority of UN member states.

“Although it is unfortunate that it shall not be adopted universally, I would like to point out that the migration compact is not legally binding,” Abela said.

He reiterated that a global response was the most appropriate course of action to address the migration phenomenon.

“Malta has been calling for a comprehensive approach to address migration related challenges and we can build on the global compact going forward,” Abela said.

The call for a global response to migration has featured every year in Prime Minister Joseph Muscat’s annual address to the UN general assembly.

The text of the agreement was finalised by UN member states on 13 July after 18 months of negotiations.

The conference in Morocco will convene under the auspices of the UN general assembly.

UN secretary general António Guterres said the document was an opportunity to maximise the contribution that millions of migrants made to society and to agree a set of actions to ensure that the rights of all migrants are fully respected.

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