Migration Agreement a New Controversy, Similar to Istanbul Convention?

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Will Croatia accept the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration in whose drafting it was actively involved? It is a comprehensive United Nations document which is not legally binding for member states and includes a series of recommendations and instruments that each country can – but does not have to – apply and incorporate into its legislation, reports Večernji List on November 2, 2018.

Even though it is not a legally binding document and all decisions regarding migration policies – including the number of migrants admitted – are entirely left to sovereign states, it has become controversial due to various interpretations, such as the allegations that Croatia would have to admit many – some even say millions – migrants. At the same time, petitions against the compact are being signed, and the political pressure is growing for the government not to sign it.

Criticism intensified after some countries, such as the United States, Hungary, and now Austria, have announced they would not accept the compact. It could very easily happen that the Global Compact will turn into a controversy similar to the Istanbul Convention.

The content of the compact was agreed upon by the UN General Assembly in July and aims to create an international framework for migration management. EU member states have authorized the European Union to negotiate the compact on their behalf.

In Croatia, the Global Compact is under the purview of the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs, but Foreign Minister Marija Pejčinović-Burić has refused to clarify the Croatian position on the issue.

A few days ago, the right-wing MP Hrvoje Zekanović called on President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović not to sign the Global Compact on Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration as he considers it “wind in the sails of new migration.” Although some of the rightwing portals have reported that the president allegedly said she would not sign the compact, the sources from the president’s office say that the president could not sign it anyway because the agreement is not to be signed at all and was entirely under the purview of the foreign ministry.

The agreement will not be signed by anyone because it is not a legally binding document. Instead, it will be accepted at the political level. It will be used for the heads of state and government to note the challenges faced by the international community and strive to contribute to the harmonisation of practices and the introduction of better controls over their consequences.

In Croatia, it is supposed to be accepted by the government, and the representatives of all the states which support it will officially adopt the document at a gathering in Marrakech on 10 and 11 December.

Critics note that the problem is that in the compact, migrations are defined as a human right. However, it is clearly stated that the compact does not impose conditions or obligations for any country to accept migrants. The sovereignty of each country in managing migration is emphasised as one of the main principles of the compact.

To read more about controversies in Croatia with the Istanbul Convention, click here.

Translated from Večernji List (reported by Sandra Veljković).


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