Hungary to quit UN migration pact shunned by Washington

COMPILED FROM WIRE SERVICES
ISTANBUL
Published 18.07.2018 20:32
Updated 18.07.2018 20:33

Following the same path set by the United States, Hungary's foreign minister said his country will pull out of a United Nations accord on migration to be adopted in December because it goes against Hungary's security interests.

Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto said yesterday that the U.N.'s Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration, whose final draft was released last week, also goes against common sense and that Hungary has doubts about the accord's non-binding status. Washington announced in December that it was withdrawing from negotiations on the pact because of provisions "inconsistent with U.S. immigration and refugee policies."

Right-wing nationalist Prime Minister Viktor Orban, re-elected for a third consecutive term in April, has been one of the strongest opponents to the European Union's migration policy since his government fenced off Hungary's southern borders in 2015 to keep out migrants. The Hungarian government, which with Poland and the Czech Republic has run foul of the EU by taking tougher stands against the admission of asylum-seekers, has struck a chord with its voters by arguing that illegal immigration threatens to undermine European stability. The 193-member U.N. General Assembly adopted a political declaration in 2016, known as the New York Declaration, in which they agreed to spend two years negotiating the pact on safe, orderly and regular migration. The global pact lays out 23 objectives to open up legal migration and better manage the influx as the number of people on the move worldwide has increased to 250 million, or 3 percent of the world's population. Negotiations faced hurdles over how to address illegal migration, with some governments insisting that migrants who fail to be properly registered be returned to their countries of origin.

The move came after the migration crisis in Europe in 2015, which saw the biggest influx of refugees and migrants since World War II, officials said. The crisis strained resources and triggered fear of foreigners and nationalist tensions.

Some 250 million people around the world are migrants, according to U.N. data, or 3.4 percent of the global population. "Migration is a fact. It has been here for centuries. It is here to stay for centuries more," Miroslav Lajčák, president of the U.N. General Assembly, told a media briefing. "But we have never had an instrument that helps us to govern, to manage this process. We have been in reactive mode."

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