Swiss delay decision on UN migration pact

The Global Compact for Migration seeks to streamline conditions for an orderly migration across the world. Keystone

The government has decided it won’t attend an international conference next month to sign a United Nations-backed agreement on migration.

This content was published on November 21, 2018 - 14:40

It said it wanted to wait for parliamentary debates on the issue during the forthcoming winter session before giving the migration pact its final blessing, according to a statement published on Wednesday.

However, the government maintains that the agreement is consistent with Switzerland’s interests, “as it aims to reduce irregular migration by setting benchmarks for orderly migration practices.”

In October, the government announced that it planned to adopt the pact with certain caveats, saying Switzerland’s migration policy already implemented the recommendations. It added that the treaty would be put to parliament for consultation as required by law.

However, the government has rejected proposals to let parliament have the final say on the issue.

The non-binding pact has prompted criticism from various political parties in the Swiss parliament, notably from the right. They argue the treaty would undermine Switzerland’s independence.

In several other countries the pact has drawn opposition from nationalists.

The United States, Hungary, Austria, Israel and Poland have said they won't back the treaty. An intergovernmental conference in the Moroccan city of Marrakesh on December 10-11 is due to approve the accord.

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