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Czech PM Babis Joins Opposition to UN Migration Pact

Centrist Czech government aligns with right-wing Central European critics of the non-binding agreement.

2 November 2018

“My government partners and I will propose that we act the same way as Austria and Hungary,” Prime Minister Andrej Babis (pictured) said in answer to a question in parliament yesterday, a day after the European Commission said it regretted Austria’s decision not to sign a UN migration pact.

 

“I don’t like this pact,” Babis said, according to CTK.

 

The Hungarian government has also said it will not sign the non-binding pact. The Trump administration last year withdrew from it, and Poland is also considering not signing it, the Guardian reports.

 

Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic, and Slovakia, known as the Visegrad 4, loudly opposed the EU’s mandatory migrant resettlement scheme and have together accepted only a tiny handful of migrants from the main source countries in Asia and Africa.

 

Both Babis and Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz have said the pact blurs the distinction between legal and illegal migration. Austria’s government also said it feared the pact would establish “a human right to migration” and interfere with its national sovereignty.

 

Although the agreement is couched in vague terms, it does not refer to a “right to migration” and specifically reaffirms the “sovereign right” of nations to determine national migration policy and to “distinguish between regular and irregular migration status.”

 

 

  • Officially called the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration, the pact was approved in July by all UN countries except the United States.  It is due to be signed next month in Morocco, Reuters reports.

 

  • The pact is largely concerned with issues such as coordinating national migration policies, protecting migrants and helping them integrate into new countries, and ensuring they are not involuntarily returned to unsafe countries, The Independent writes.

 

  • The pact underlines that migrants do not enjoy the right to international protection granted to refugees. However, it declares that both refugees and migrants “are entitled to the same universal human rights and fundamental freedoms.”

Compiled by Ky Krauthamer

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