The Czech Republic Reject the UN Migration Pact

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Next week the government will discuss the non-accession to the UN Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration, Foreign Minister Tomáš Petříček (CSSD) told the press. Prime Minister Andrej Babiš (ANO) said that the treaty blurs the distinction between legal and illegal migration, and Petříček also had reservations about the document. The United States withdrew from the treaty last year, and Austria and Hungary also refused to sign it.

The government was debating the document today and instructed the Foreign Minister to prepare the materials for the final resolution next week. According to Petříček, it is clear that the cabinet will not support the pact. The Foreign Minister also told reporters that the government must submit its decision to the Chamber of Deputies by November 15.

“We do not like, for example, the ambiguous distinction between illegal and legal migrants, the ambiguity of social rights, or the fact that the compact does not mention the forced return of illegal migrants,” Petříček said in a press statement. In his opinion, the Czech Republic should definitely retreat from the pact. “I believe that we can, and it will be up to the Czech government to duly defend our position so that our foreign partners understand us and our decision.” he continued.

According to the Foreign Minister, it is also necessary to realise that the issue of migration needs to be resolved on an international level, because a state the size of the Czech Republic cannot face the problem alone. “We want the Czech Republic to actively participate in such forms of international cooperation that will help to restrict illegal migration, as well as fight smuggling networks, allow for better border protection, and improve international assistance in countries affected by war or humanitarian disasters,” he wrote.

The pact, which was approved by the UN last month, is a non-binding agreement which sets out standards for protecting and integrating people who migrate and also aims to offer solutions to refugee issues. The document will have its official signing ceremony in Marrakech this December. In addition to the countries that have already withdrawn from the pact, Poland, Italy, and Japan also have reservations.

Author: Holly Webb

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