The U.N. General Assembly endorsed a sweeping accord to ensure safe and orderly migration Wednesday over opposition from five countries, including the United States and Hungary. The Global Compact for Migration, the first international document dealing with the issue, is not legally binding.
U.S. President Donald Trump's administration has said the global approach to the issue was not compatible with U.S. sovereignty and Washington did not take part in negotiations on the migration pact.
It was approved by a vote of 152-5 with Israel, the Czech Republic and Poland also voting "no" and 12 countries abstaining. The vote in favor of the resolution was lower than the 164 countries that approved the agreement by acclamation at a conference in Marrakech, Morocco, earlier this month. The compact represents a U.N.-led effort to crack down on the often dangerous and illegal movements of people across borders that have turned human smuggling into a worldwide industry, and to give people seeking economic opportunity a chance. U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres told the Marrakech conference that "more than 60,000 migrants have died on the move since the year 2000," as reported by the Associated Press. "This is a source of collective shame," he said.
Since July, the accord, which addresses issues such as how to protect migrants, integrate them and send them home, has been criticized by mostly right-wing European politicians who say it could increase immigration from African and Arab countries.
Belgium voted in favor of the U.N. resolution on Wednesday. Belgium Prime Minister Charles Michel offered to resign on Tuesday after opponents tabled a no confidence vote in a political crisis triggered by his support for the U.N pact.