December 11, 2018 – Canada has adopted the United Nations Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration of refugees after dismissing critics who claimed the document threatens sovereignty on immigration.
Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen made the announcement in Morocco on Monday saying the move will help ‘harness the contributions of newcomers and to ensure their successful integration.’
The 36-page Global Compact features 23 objectives for how to treat migrants humanely and efficiently.
It lays out how countries can work together to help deal with growing global migration.
Prior to signing the document, Canada’s Conservatives had raised fears it could lead to Canada losing the right to make decisions on who enters the country.
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“It gives influence over Canada’s immigration system to foreign entities,” said Conservative leader Andrew Scheer.
“It attempts to influence how our free and independent media report on immigration issues and it could open the door to foreign bureaucrats telling Canada how to manage our borders.
“Canadians, and Canadians alone, should make decisions on who comes in our country and under what circumstances.”
But Hussen hit back at the claims, saying they were politically motivated, accusing the Conservatives of ‘discarding facts.
‘Useful Framework’ for Migration
The immigration minister said the Global Compact would help form a ‘useful framework’ for migration, enhancing cooperation and communication.
He also stressed it was not legally binding, and that many of the objectives set out in the compact were already being done in Canada.
Canada has been actively engaged in the development of the compact.
The majority of the almost 200 action items reflect Canadian practices and are aligned with the compact’s objectives and commitments.
The objectives of the agreement include the promotion of ‘independent, objective and quality reporting of media outlets’ by ‘sensitizing and educating media professionals on migration-related issues and terminology’.
It says media outlets promoting intolerance and racism should have funding withdrawn.
Meanwhile, the compact also includes wording affirming the sovereignty of countries in terms of setting their own immigration policies.
Experts say the Global Compact represents a positive step in bringing government and the private sector together to make better lives for refugees.
Given immigration is a sensitive subject with the rise of protectionism in the US through Donald Trump and the UK through Brexit, the negative reaction was to be expected.
But, in reality, the compact serves to set out a framework, and does not impose obligations.
Other objectives include:
- Collection of accurate data to help develop policies.
- Working to minimize the factors that cause people to become refugees.
- Ensuring refugees and migrants are treated fairly in terms of recruitment and working conditions, and access to basic services.
- A stronger response to people trafficking.
Hussen said: “Comprehensive national migration systems can help drive innovation, economic growth, and social stability.
“Our government believes that this Global Compact is not only an effective way to address the challenges that migration can bring, but is also an opportunity for nations to harness the contributions of newcomers and to ensure their successful integration into new countries.”
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