Government Defends Global Migration Compact Before Parliament

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ZAGREB, November 29, 2018 – The Minister of Foreign and European Affairs, Marija Pejčinović Burić, presented to the parliamentary foreign affairs committee a report on the Global Migration Compact on Wednesday, reiterating that this was a set of measures that promote cooperation between countries with regard to regular migration and that it was not a binding document by which states diminish their sovereignty or according to which migration was considered as a human right, however critics claimed that endorsing the document also meant accepting certain political obligations.

Pejčinović Burić together with Interior Minister Davor Božinović answered to criticisms by almost all parties regarding the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration (GCM) that is supposed to be endorsed in Marrakesh in early December.

The process was launched by the adoption of the New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants by 193 UN member states. The minister said Croatia had participated in forming the EU’s joint stance on this matter.

Countries like the USA, Israel, Australia, the entire Visegrad Group and Austria have announced that they will not adopt the Global Compact.

Critics claim that the non-binding document declares economic migration as a human right which means giving up a state’s sovereignty while supporters of the Compact claim that it will improve international management of migrant waves and strengthen the protection of human rights.

Pejčinović Burić addressed the parliamentary committee and said that the document was a reaction to 258 million people leaving their countries and that the UN took on the responsibility to prepare a document with the intention of controlling that phenomenon which is almost impossible to control without international cooperation.

“Countries independently decide on the application of those measures according to national legislation and migration policies,” she said and reiterated that this is an unbinding document aimed exclusively on regular migrants. “The Global Compact is not an international legal agreement and it is not a legally binding document. It isn’t something that is signed,” she said.

Minister Božinović welcomed the fact that the international community had realised at the level of the UN that the migrant issue was something that finally had to be dealt with. “With this document, for the first time, the international community is realising that this issue needs to be regulated,” and it wasn’t dealt with before because developed countries had a lot of benefit from migrations.

MOST leader Božo Petrov said that the interested public should have been informed of this issue much earlier and not “ten days” before the document is to be adopted in Marrakesh. He expressed concern that countries in Croatia’s neighbourhood had rejected the Compact and called for a vote that the issue be debated in parliament however, that motion was denied by the committee’s chairman Miro Kovač (HDZ).

Branimir Bunjac from the Živi Zid said that his party would not support the Compact because it was unclear and ambiguous.

Joško Klisović (SDP) said that “the document doesn’t undermine sovereignty in any way. He claimed that the issue of migrations is something that can only be handled at a global forum like the United Nations, adding that he regretted that Croatia would not represented in Marrakesh by the President nor the foreign minister but would be represented by the interior minister.

For more on Croatia’s migration policies, click here.


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