The Slovenia Times

Slovenia to join UN-sponsored migration agreement


Although not a treaty, the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration is the first inter-governmental document in which the international community addresses migrations.

It was endorsed in July by all 193 UN members except the US, which pulled out of negotiations last December.

Since then, more than ten countries, mostly from Europe, have announced not to join it, arguing it equalled legal and illegal migrations and interfered with nations' sovereignty in forming migration policy.

Slovenian politics is also divided, with the right-wing opposition calling on the government not to join it.

The SDS, NSi and SNS claim it treats legal and illegal migrations in the same manner, turns migrations into a human right, and lacks an action plan to fight causes of migrations in source countries.

Claiming the government endorsed it in violation of Slovenian law by bypassing parliament, the SDS and SNS filed an initiative for a referendum, which is being processed by the parliament's legal service.

Foreign Minister Miro Cerar assured them the document had been endorsed in line with the law, and PM Marjan Ĺ arec said he saw no need for a referendum.

Cerar also stressed the document does not deprive states of sovereignty in forming national migration policies and addresses causes for migrations in source countries.

President Borut Pahor also expressed support, deeming it acceptable for Slovenia. He said it was the international community's first serious, although non-binding, attempt to address migrations.

The European Commission is also in favour of the agreement, whereas the European Parliament is divided, with the group of Eurosceptics opposing it.

An expert on migrations told the STA the document acknowledges explicitly nations' right and sovereignty to regulate international migrations and fight against illegal migrations.

Sandra Lavenex, a professor of international law at the University of Geneva in Switzerland, stressed it does not put illegal and legal migrations on an equal footing and does not set down a global right to migration.

She said it points to the role of international cooperation for better migrations management to the benefit of states, migrants and communities which host them.

Since it is not legally binding, it sets no obligations that parties to the agreement would have to respect, but features 23 goals which they are bound to follow politically.

Although it addresses causes of migrations in source countries, Lavenex said not putting violence and wars among the causes of forced migrations is a shortcoming.

The migration agreement will not be signed at the Marrakesh conference, it will be adopted by acclamation.

This means that if no participant voices objection to it once the document is presented by the presiding member of the inter-governmental conference, it will be declared adopted.

The agreement will then be formally confirmed with a resolution by the UN General Assembly later this month, on which occasion the Slovenian Foreign Ministry will issue an explanatory statement to point to the document's nature of not being legally binding.


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