The Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration was approved in July by all 193 member UN nations except the US, which backed out last year. The pact was introduced after the biggest movement of migrants since World War 2 with more than 1.5 million people arriving in Europe from the Middle East, Africa and beyond. But more and more countries are now rejecting the accord with the Czech Republic just the latest to voted against signing up.
Deputy Prime Minister Richard Brabec said: “The Czech Republic has long favoured the principle of separating legal and illegal migration.
“That is what the Czech Republic’s and other European countries’ suggestions aimed for. The final text does not reflect those proposals.”
The Czech concerns have been shared by the right-wing governments of Hungary and Austria, which have already announced they will not sign the agreement at a ceremony in Morocco in December.
Bulgaria’s coalition government, which includes the anti-migration United Patriots party, has also dropped out of the accord, and its parliament is due to vote on the issue on Wednesday. Poland has said it may follow suit.
The non-binding UN pact addresses issues such as how to protect people who migrate, how to integrate them into new countries and how to return them to their home countries.
The US said it was ending its participation in negotiations last December, stating numerous provisions were “inconsistent with US immigration and refugee policies” under President Donald Trump.
UN Special Representative for International Migration Louise Arbour has called moves to shun the accord regrettable and mistaken and said the compact simply aimed to improve the management of cross-border movements of people.
She said: ”It is always regrettable when one disengages, particularly from a process that is very respectful of national specificities.
“The text of the GCM was agreed upon in July in New York after several months of negotiations conducted in full transparency and according to a process determined by all Member States. The GCM enjoys very broad consensus from all regions.
“We live in an increasingly inter-connected world. It is difficult to see what the advantages are of ‘pulling-out’ on an issue which by its very nature demands cooperation.”
The head of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, has also voiced his frustration at the number number member states rejecting the accord and appealed for a united EU front on migration.
He said: “If one or two or three countries leave the United Nations migration pact, then we as the EU can’t stand up for our own interests.”