Washington pulls out of global migration compact

Envoy says non-binding UN pact on rights of refugees inconsistent with American policies

UNITED NATIONS • The administration of President Donald Trump has withdrawn the US from a UN pact to improve the handling of migrant and refugee situations, deeming it "inconsistent" with its policies.

"Today, the US mission to the United Nations informed the UN Secretary-General that the United States is ending its participation in the global compact on migration," it said in a statement last Saturday.

In September last year, the 193 members of the UN General Assembly unanimously adopted a non-binding political declaration, the New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants, pledging to uphold the rights of refugees, help them resettle and ensure they have access to education and jobs.

"The New York Declaration contains numerous provisions that are inconsistent with US immigration and refugee policies and the Trump administration's immigration principles. As a result, President Trump determined that the United States would end its participation in the compact process that aims to reach international consensus at the UN in 2018," the US statement said.

US Ambassador Nikki Haley said the country would continue its "generosity" in supporting migrants and refugees around the world, but that "our decisions on immigration policies must always be made by Americans and Americans alone".

"We will decide how best to control our borders and who will be allowed to enter our country. The global approach in the New York Declaration is simply not compatible with US sovereignty."

Under Mr Trump and his "America First" policies, the US has withdrawn from several global commitments made under the administration of president Barack Obama, including the Paris climate deal.

SOLE DECIDER

We will decide how best to control our borders and who will be allowed to enter our country. The global approach in the New York Declaration is simply not compatible with US sovereignty.

US AMBASSADOR NIKKI HALEY, on decisions over immigration policies.

In June, Mr Trump announced that the US will withdraw from the 196-nation Paris agreement on climate change and seek to negotiate a new international deal.

Declaring that he was "elected to represent the citizens of Pittsburgh, not Paris", Mr Trump complained that the accord gives other countries an unfair advantage over US industry and destroys American jobs. The pullout will not take effect before November 2020.

More recently, American pulled out of the Paris-based culture and education body, Unesco, accusing it of "anti-Israel bias".

The withdrawal is to take effect at the end of next year, when the US will establish an "observer mission" to replace its Unesco representation.

Mr Trump regularly denounces "protectionist" measures by the European Union, and the US trade deficit with Germany. He also wants reform of the UN "bureaucracy", accusing the world body of bad management. Washington is the largest financial contributor to the world body.

Ms Haley has stressed that Washington would continue evaluating its role in UN agencies.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 04, 2017, with the headline 'Washington pulls out of global migration compact'. Print Edition | Subscribe