Switzerland delays final decision on UN migration pact

Published 22.11.2018 00:00
Updated 22.11.2018 00:08

The Swiss government said the country won't attend a conference next month at which a U.N.-backed agreement on migration is to be approved because it wants to wait for parliamentary debates at home before giving its final blessing. Switzerland's governing Federal Council said in October it planned to adopt the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration, but would put it to parliament for consultation as required by law.

The Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration was approved in July by all 193 member nations except the United States, which backed out last year. It followed the biggest influx of migrants into Europe since World War Two, many fleeing conflicts in the Middle East and beyond. It lays out 23 objectives to open up legal migration and better manage migratory flows as the number of people on the move worldwide has increased to 250 million, three percent of the world's population. An intergovernmental conference in Marrakech, Morocco on Dec. 10-11 is due to approve the accord.

The Federal Council said yesterday that Switzerland won't attend, but reiterated that it believes the pact is "consistent with Switzerland's interests."

The non-binding pact has drawn opposition from nationalists in several countries. Australia has become the latest country to decline signing a United Nations migration agreement, with ministers saying Wednesday that it was not in the national interest. The U.N. pact has become controversial in many countries in the West, especially in those led by conservative governments, with Poland, Austria, the Czech Republic, Poland, Croatia, Hungary, Bulgaria, Estonia, Israel and the United States saying they will not sign it.

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