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Czech Republic rejects UN migration pact

November 14, 2018

The Czechs join Hungary, Bulgaria and Austria in rejecting a UN migration pact, with more EU states expected not to join. Opponets say the pact doesn't distinguish between economic migrants and asylum-seekers.

Image: picture-alliance/prisma/W. Allgöwer

The Czech government on Wednesday decided it will not join a United Nations pact on migration, becoming the latest European state to shun the accord.

The non-legally binding Global Compact for Migration was finalized in July and is set to be adopted by UN member states at a meeting in Morocco in December.

Read more: What is the UN migration pact — and why do some oppose it?

"The Czech Republic has long favored the principle of separating legal and illegal migration," Deputy Prime Minister Richard Brabec told a news conference.

"That is what the Czech Republic's and other European countries' suggestions aimed for. The final text does not reflect those proposals."

Prime Minister Andrej Babis had previously stated he was against the migration pact even though it was non-binding because "it, in fact, defines migration as a basic human right."

Latest country to reject pact

The United States was the first to announce it would not join the pact. It was followed by Hungary, Australia, Bulgaria and Austria. Poland, Slovakia and Italy have signaled they may not sign on.

Among other reasons, opponents of the compact say it does not distinguish between economic migrants and asylum-seekers.

Read more: German parliament rows over UN Migration Compact

The agreement, officially titled the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration, marks the first time the UN has agreed on a list of global measures to tackle the challenges involved in migration while at the same time maximizing benefits for the countries taking in immigrants.

The compact is based on the recognition that the world needs to cooperate if migration flows are to be managed in a humane manner, while still taking account of the principle of state sovereignty. Some 258 million people currently live outside their country of birth worldwide, a number that is expected to increase because of climate change, trade, inequality, and population growth.

cw/rt (AFP, AP, Reuters)

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