United States and Australia Notably Missing from UN Migration Agreement

More than 160 countries agreed this morning in Morocco on a nonbinding UN migration accord that aims to ensure the safe, orderly and humane movement of people around the world.

Notably missing in the agreement: the United States and Australia, Austria, the Czech Republic, Dominican Republic, Hungary, Latvia, Poland, and Slovakia. The Belgian government was split over the prime minister’s support of the pact.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel was in Marrakesh to support the UN’s Global Compact for Migration that was approved by 164 countries after years of efforts supported by U.S. President Barack Obama but rejected by the Trump administration in December 2017. In July this year, 192 countries unanimously approved the pact following 18 months of negotiations, DPA reports.

Proponents say migration can help national economies by rejuvenating the workforce in aging rich countries and by providing cash to poorer countries via remittances. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called the compact a “roadmap to prevent suffering and chaos.” He said over 60,000 migrants have died on the move since 2000. In Marrakesh, Merkel said the accord is a major step in the battle against human smuggling. She added that migration is a normal phenomenon, “and when it’s legal, also good.”

Opponents, fearing an influx of migrants, say the pact challenges national sovereignty. The 34-page accord still needs to be endorsed by the UN General Assembly.

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