Canada joins initiative to embrace international cooperation on migration issues
This week Canada joined 160 other nations in signing the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration ("UN Migration Pact") agreement. This pact concludes a three-year discussion. A ground-breaking event as, for the first time, there is an established framework for international cooperation amongst countries to work together on issues related to the causes and impacts of migration.
What Is the Un Pact About?
In 2015 Europe experienced a migration crisis on a scale not seen since World War II. This event spurred talk by the United Nations to come together to address how member countries could respond. These discussions ultimately evolved to create the UN Migration Pact.
The goal of the agreement is to set “a common understanding, shared responsibilities and unity of purpose regarding migration.” With that understanding, it's expected nations that signed onto the agreement will benefit from better international cooperation with migration issues.
Other objectives the agreement hopes to accomplish include:
- Balancing fairness to states and facilitating safe and orderly migration.
- Streamlining immigration protocols.
- Providing clear information on immigration laws and application processes.
- Offering better screening processes.
- Protecting the human rights of migrants and refugees.
- Combating human trafficking and discriminatory migration policies.
- Protection for refugees from unlawful imprisonments, torture and abuse from their home countries.
Canada played an active role in supporting this agreement. Over the last two years, tens of thousands of individuals have crossed into the nation via non-official entry points. One of the key advantages of the agreement is that Canada now has the opportunity to closely work with source countries of irregular asylum seekers.
It is noteworthy that the Migration Pact is not a treaty and does not create any new legal obligations. Rather, it is a "non-legally binding, cooperative framework that … fosters international cooperation among all relevant actors on migration, acknowledging that no state can address migration alone, and upholds the sovereignty of states and their obligations under international law." The compact’s focus is that "safe, orderly and regular migration works for all when it takes place in a well-informed, planned and consensual manner."
While proponents of the agreement believe the migration pact solves many issues associated with migration, there has also been some opposition. As the agreement was taking shape, protests broke out inside and outside of Canadian borders. Critics feel the UN Migration Pact will force Canada to give up sovereignty over its border control and internal immigration policies.
Conservatives are also concerned about the media's role in reporting immigration issues, stating a section of the UN agreement includes wording that calls on member states to suspend public funding of media outlets for reporting in unapproved methods. Canadian supporters of the agreement insist this section of the agreement was not aimed at Canada as its media is fair and balanced.
Hussen, speaking from Morocco where the UN summit and signing for the pact was taking place, defended Canada's involvement. He also noted the new agreement ensures a "better future" for people so they can safely come to Canada without having to engage in irregular migration.
“People talk about how we should approach irregular migration — one of the ways to do that is to work with other countries,” Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen said, reports Global News. “One of the things that we do is work with partner countries to assist them with job creation and skills-development programs that enables source countries for migrants."