by Akiva Bigman
Non-binding agreement, which grants labor migrants same legal status as refugees, could eventually be incorporated into international law.
Israel should not join the new U.N.-drafted agreement aiming to protect the rights of migrants because it would hurt its own interests, the Israeli Immigration Policy Center warned on Sunday.
The center, known also as Eitan, has been actively calling on the government take a more aggressive approach to illegal immigration.
Under the recently negotiated Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration, U.N. member states tentatively agreed to cement the rights of refugees under the auspices of the U.N. Charter. The document is set to be officially adopted in December, during an intergovernmental conference in Morocco.
According to the Foreign Ministry website, Israeli officials have taken part in the formulation of the draft, having participated in meetings of the forum that compiled the pact and having presented the forum with relevant materials.
Unlike other agreements and conventions, the new compact will grant labor migrants the same legal status under international law as asylum seekers and refugees who flee tyrannical regimes. This would essentially make all migrants, legal or not, eligible for economic benefits.
The pact strives to "develop national short-, medium- and long-term policy goals regarding the inclusion of migrants in societies, including on labor market integration, family reunification, education, non-discrimination and health, including by fostering partnerships with relevant stakeholders" and to "provide newly arrived migrants with targeted, gender-responsive, child-sensitive, accessible and comprehensive information and legal guidance on their rights and obligations, including on compliance with national and local laws, obtaining of work and resident permits, status adjustments, registration with authorities, access to justice to file complaints about rights violations, as well as access to basic services."
If adopted, the compact would not be legally binding, but its ambiguous wording could result in some parts of it being incorporated into international law, particularly if it is adopted by an overwhelming majority of member states. It also uses phrases such as "we commit" and "collective commitment."
For this reason, the U.S., Australia, Austria and Hungary have refused to be a party to this compact. The Czech Republic, Poland and Croatia have also indicated they would not join it, while Canada and Germany have seen campaigns against its adoption.
"The agreement runs against Israel's core sovereign interests," the Israeli Immigration Policy Center said in a statement. "There is no justification for joining an international pact that undermines our interests. We call on Prime Minister [Benjamin] Netanyahu to make it clear that he will not join this radical agreement."
Meanwhile, the Foreign Ministry issued a statement saying: "No decision has been made on this topic."
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