Austria backs out of UN migration agreement
©Wikimedia (Thomas Wolf)

Austria backs out of UN migration agreement

Austria announced Wednesday that it will not sign the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration, following suit with the US and Hungary.

Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said that Austria fears the compact will lead to “a human right to migration.” The Compact’s human rights purpose states: “we ensure effective respect, protection and fulfillment of the human rights of all migrants, regardless of their migration status, across all stages of the migration cycle.” UN Special Representative for international migration Louise Arbour rebutted the proposition, saying: “The question of whether this is an invidious way to start promoting a ‘human right to migrate’ is not correct. It’s not in the text; there’s no sinister project to advance that.” Austria also fears that the compact will blur distinctions between asylum seekers’ rights and labor migrants’ rights.

The EU criticized the decision, saying: “We regret the decision that the Austrian government has taken. We continue to believe that migration is a global challenge where only global solutions and global responsibility sharing will bring results.”

The US announced its withdrawal in December and Hungary in July. There is also growing concern that Poland will not sign the agreement.

Though not legally binding, the compact “expresses collective commitment to improving cooperation on international migration.” It is set for approval in December at a meeting in Marrakech, Morocco.