Thursday, November 22, 2018

Joining US, Israel officially pulls out of UN migrant rights pact - Akiva Bigman

by Akiva Bigman

"We're committed to protecting our borders from illegal infiltrators," he says.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday announced that Israel will not join a global immigration pact that grants labor migrants the same legal status as refugees.

"I have instructed the Foreign Ministry to announce that Israel will not join and will not sign the immigration treaty," Netanyahu said. "We are committed to protecting our borders from illegal infiltrators. That is what we have done and what we will continue to do."

Netanyahu made the decision after Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely brought the issue to his attention.

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 U.N. Charter. The document is set to be officially adopted in December at an intergovernmental conference in Morocco.

According to the Foreign Ministry website, Israeli officials took part in the formulation of the draft, participated in meetings of the forum that compiled it and presented the forum with relevant materials.

Unlike other agreements and conventions, the agreement will grant labor migrants as well as "climate 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 United States, Australia, Austria and Hungary have refused to be parties to the compact. The Czech Republic, Poland and Croatia have also indicated they will not join it, while in Canada and Germany there have been campaigns against its adoption.

Akiva Bigman


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