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What is the UN Global Migration Pact?

Letter to the Editor from Antoinette Halberstadt of Castlegar

Some local angst about Canada’s signing onto the U.N. Pact for Migration, got me unearthing the actual Agreement. Hopefully, ensuing debaters will quote from these U.N. documents rather than repeating unsubstantiated claims from xenophobic online sites or from politicians with stakes in the upcoming Federal election.

Seems like the Pact is for participants to share their challenges and successes with migration, for countries to then design their own solutions in keeping with the already-agreed-upon goals and principles. The following excerpts address just some of the locally-expressed fears.

From “”: “The global compact is non-legally binding. … grounded in values of state sovereignty, …. a cooperative approach is needed to optimize the overall benefits of migration, while addressing its risks and challenges for individuals and communities in countries of origin, transit and destination.” “…. seeks to address the legitimate concerns of states and communities”.

“…strives to create conducive conditions that enable all migrants to enrich our societies through their human, economic and social capacities, and thus facilitate their contributions to sustainable development “


Specifics are in “Global Compact for Migration intergovernmentally negotiated and agreed outcome” : “13. This Global Compact recognizes that safe, orderly and regular migration works for all when it takes place in a well-informed, planned and consensual manner…”

15. Guiding principles include: “National sovereignty: … the sovereign right of States to determine their national migration policy and their prerogative to govern migration within their jurisdiction, in conformity with international law. ….”

The concrete “Objectives for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration” include:-

“(2) Minimize the adverse drivers and structural factors that compel people to leave their country of origin. (4) Ensure that all migrants have proof of legal identity and adequate documentation. (9) Strengthen the transnational response to smuggling of migrants. 11) Manage borders in an integrated, secure and coordinated manner. (12) Strengthen certainty and predictability in migration procedures for appropriate screening, assessment and referral . (16) Empower migrants and societies to realize full inclusion and social cohesion . (17) Eliminate all forms of discrimination and promote evidence-based public discourse to shape perceptions of migration. (19) Create conditions for migrants and diaspora to fully contribute to sustainable development in all countries .”

Details of these Objectives start on page 6. On page 23, Objective 16 says “We commit to foster inclusive and cohesive societies by empowering migrants to become active members of society and promoting the reciprocal engagement of receiving communities and migrants in the exercise of their rights and obligations towards each other, including observance of national laws and respect for customs of the country of destination. “ Here in Castlegar I’ve witnessed many migrants, as well as refugees, eagerly participating in welcoming programs that promote this whole Objective.

Objective 17 elicits protests from those who’ve only read the deliberately-divisive online memes and opinions. Before reacting , I urge first reading its details, including: “We also commit to protect freedom of expression in accordance with international law, recognizing that an open and free debate contributes to a comprehensive understanding of all aspects of migration.”




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