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This blog is written by Canadian journalist Donna Laframboise. Posts appear Monday & Wednesday.

At the Morocco Meeting on Migration

Norway champions free speech, firmly rejects migration as a human right.

A UN conference has just wrapped up in Morocco. Its purpose was to ‘adopt’ a controversial 34-page document called the Global Compact For Safe, Orderly, and Regular Migration (also known as the Global Compact for Migration).

As of this writing, it’s devilishly difficult to determine how many countries are on board, and how many are not. But a UN web page provides links to scores of statements by national delegations who attended that meeting.

The Philippines, for example, submitted an overwrought commentary that begins by declaring:

These are days of fear and fury. We live in time [sic] of hostility to migration; hatred even. Anti-immigrant ideologies indistinguishable from racism are again in the ascendant as it was before the Holocaust.

Insisting that “European cities would be cesspools without migrants,” the Philippines bizarrely claims it’s the “fond desire” of some countries to live in a world where

migrants stand on auction blocks, impassively awaiting the cry of the auctioneer: “Sold!”

Meanwhile, Croatia says there needs to be a “clear distinction” between “refugees and migrants” and between “regular and irregular migrants” – but fails to acknowledge that the 34-page Compact makes no such distinctions.

Denmark declares that “irregular migrants – who have no legal right to stay” must return to their home countries. “Let there be no doubt,” it continues, “migration is not a human right.”

Finland similarly affirms that this document “does not establish a human right to migrate” by giving “any of us the right to freely decide where we want to live.”

Norway’s statement is the real bombshell. It bluntly refers to the Compact as a “compromise.” Although it will sign up and contribute funding, it finds it necessary to speak plainly about several matters “due to the ambiguity of the text.”

Declaring that “freedom of expression and freedom of the press are the foundation of a democratic society,” it says this document will not undermine those bedrock principals within its borders. In eight separate bullet points, Norway makes its position clear.

For example, it aligns with Denmark and Finland by explicitly rejecting the notion that anything like a “human right to migrate” is being established by this Compact. Confident that its own legislation already accords with international law, it says it doesn’t anticipate making any changes to its current immigration regime as a result of this agreement.

Sounding considerably less sophisticated, Canada declares itself “proud to adopt this Compact.” We “know we have room to improve,” reads the statement, and will therefore “now use this Compact” to evaluate our efforts.

That comes as a bit of a shock to Canadians. Last year, our country processed a historic number of refugee claimants. As the US-based Pew Research Center explains:

in 2017, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said in a highly publicized tweet that Canada welcomed “those fleeing persecution, terror and war.” (Trudeau made the statement after Trump restricted travel into the U.S. from several Muslim-majority countries and paused the U.S. refugee resettlement program.)

Brian Lilley, a fellow Canadian journalistic, recently reported that

So far 17,120 people have been intercepted by the [Royal Canadian Mounted Police] as they crossed illegally into Canada this year. That’s up from 16,992 in the same January to October time frame last year.

Two of our provinces have been obliged to spend $500 million assisting these newcomers. That money is real, wasn’t in anyone’s budget, and has to come from somewhere. Which translates into cutbacks for full-fledged citizens.

In August, a French-speaking older woman repeatedly heckled our Prime Minister at a public meeting: “I want to know when you are going to refund the $146 million we paid for your illegal immigrants.”

His response? “This intolerance towards immigrants has no room in Canada.”

If you invite people into my home who consume all my food, there’s nothing intolerant about my expectation that you should buy me some groceries. But in Morocco this week, our government told the world Canadians aren’t doing enough.

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LINKS:

  • the Philippines statement to the Morocco convention is here (and is backed up here)
  • Croatia’s statement is here (backed up here)
  • Denmark’s is here (backed up here)
  • Finland’s is here (backed up here)
  • Norway’s remarkable statement is here (backed up here)
  • Canada’s statement is here (backed up here)
  • Cogently and at some length, the US government explains here why it’s having nothing to do with the agreement. It expresses particular concern that “Unlike, standard titles for international instruments, ‘compact’ has no settled meaning in international law, but it implies legal obligation.” America is worried that supporters of the Compact see it as a means of establishing “soft law” with which nations, eventually and over time, will be pressured to comply (US statement is backed up here)
  • my previous commentary, Fooling Canadians About Refugees
  • UN Pact Doesn’t Define ‘Migrant’
  • UN Migration Pact: Normalizing State Censorship

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This entry was posted on December 12, 2018 by in ethical & philosophical and tagged , .
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