A new road map for migration, but no worries, it is not legally binding

A new “road map to prevent suffering and chaos” for the future migration. The newborn Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration (GCM) gathered 160 countries sharing the aim of ending shameful human rights violations and supporting the fact migration is a right to the extent it is regular.

Pity this ‘road map’ is not mandatory as non legally binding; “it is a framework for international co-operation which specifically reaffirms the principle of state sovereignty” said UN Secretary General António Guterres, trying, perhaps, to appease fears from anti immigrant governments who refused to sign and commit to addressing migration through a common international framework. That was the choice of United States, Australia, Israel, Switzerland and in Eu, Italy, Estonia, Austria, Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Hungary, Poland, Slovakia, Lithuania, all states claiming the pact might limit their national sovereignty and those domestic anti-immigration laws which ensured right wing and populists’ political success within some EU countries and their stabilisation in others.

A non binding pact so concerned with national sovereignty prerogatives seems an attempt to compromise with the hardest reluctant nations to join an international agreement so far boycotted by main international actors such as the US, where Trump’s administration is seeking to divert public attention from a potential political impeachment towards a military show off against helpless migrants at the Mexican border, such as Italy where GCM will be scrutinised in a Parliamentary debate, an occasion for the leading Lega to reinforce anti immigration/nationalist political stances inside and outside the Parliament, not much distant stands Hungary where Orban’s anti immigration propaganda is permanently on air.

“We must not succumb to fear and false narratives” stated the UN Secretary General; that’s why the enforceability of such a pact is crucial in order to change narratives, but as we know, UN does not make legally binding resolutions (except for those under Chapter VII and other exceptions). Sovereignty is reassured, but brutal immigration procedures causing thousands of deaths and violations of human rights law need a legally binding road map.

Although non binding, the pact brought the Belgian government down after a dispute over signing. But if we think that the agreement is only a start towards the road of immigration regulation, it becomes apparent national immigration disputes are blindly political, partisan and propagandistic, non related to an actual, nor imminent, vinculating set of international rules. The Marrakech pact has been, in fact, a new occasion for French alt-right of Marie Le Pen to turn out along with the obscure personnage Steve Bannon and make some election propaganda.

The sad reality is the actual choice, especially for US and European countries, lies between going down the road of illiberalism or starting a common path of dialogue with developing countries and leaving the ‘economy’ of exploitation and proxy wars behind.