UN member states expected to reach agreement on global migration accord despite EU concerns

UN member states expected to reach agreement on global migration accord despite EU concerns

Today, representatives from more than 100 countries will meet in Marrakesh, Morocco, to sign the UN Global Compact for Migration.

Austria’s Chancellor Kurz addresses the media after a cabinet meeting in Vienna

Photo: Reuters/Heinz-Peter Bader

Today, representatives from more than 100 countries will meet in Marrakesh, Morocco, to sign the UN Global Compact for Migration.

The treaty is an outline that reaffirms countries’ commitments to protecting the human rights of migrants. Though frameworks exist to protect the rights of refugees, who are found to be fleeing demonstrable persecution, no such agreement currently exists on the global scale for migrants.

Though it is legally non-binding and affirms the sovereignty of states to control immigration, the Compact has stirred up global controversy. Right-wing populists throughout the world have decried the agreement as being too “pro-migrant” and anti-state sovereignty. Since drafting began in 2016, 16 countries, including the US, Australia, Austria and Italy, have indicated that they will not sign the agreement.

Issues of support aside, the Compact is vague on the implementation and monitoring of its stipulations and does not clearly outline how to respond to countries that don’t recognise or protect the rights migrants. Due to a lack of legal accountability, the agreement is more symbolic than practical; it will do little to fundamentally change the situation on the ground for migrants in host countries.

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