Official representatives from all over the world will convene in Marrakech, Morocco this weekend to discuss and adopt a global agreement aimed at making migration safer, and more dignified for all.
The Global Compact For Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration, agreed by the Member States at the UN General Assembly last July, is based on the principles of State sovereignty, responsibility-sharing, non-discrimination, and human rights, and not be binding on the adopting parties.
The UN Secretary General António Guterres said, in a statement, that the Global Compact “also recognizes that every individual has the right to safety, dignity and protection.”
The total number of migrants and refugees is at 68 million. So far this year 3,323 people have died or gone missing on migratory routes across the globe.
The compact focuses on regular migration, which refers to entry or stays of people in a country in which they are not national through legal channels.
In those cases, their “position in that country is obviously known to the government and in conformity with all the laws and regulations,” explains Louise Arbour, Special Representative for International Migration.
This is different to irregular migration in which the status of the migrant is not in conformity with national requirements. An example is people coming on tourist or a student visa and extending their stay.
A migrant is different from a refugee, who the UN Refugees Agency (UNHCR) defines as someone who has been forced to flee his or her country because of persecution, war or violence.
The UN says that if adopted the compact will help better manage international migration, address its challenges, and strengthen migrants’ rights while contributing to sustainable development.
Its adoption will lead to “a great improvement on the development aspects, that humanitarian aspect and all the economic benefits that migration is capable of producing if it’s well managed in a cooperative way,” Arbour said.