ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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India and the Global Compact for Migration

The Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration, a non-binding agreement for the better management of migration, was adopted by the United Nations member countries in December 2018. The major goal of the compact is to assist nation states to frame well-managed migration policies. India’s decision to sign the compact comes as a real surprise in the face of the country’s historical reluctance to sign international migration laws and treaties. The analysis of the Indian government’s present management of migration in the light of the compacts’ objectives shows the need for a revamp in the state’s approach.

In the second week of December 2018, the United Nations (UN) member countries adopted the first-ever compact for international migration in Marrakech, Morocco. A non-binding agreement, the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration (GCM) aims to better manage migration at local, national, regional, and global levels, including reducing the risks and vulnerabilities that migrants or refugees face at different stages of their journey. Despite its non-binding nature, the adoption of the compact has led to a wide range of discussions within and outside parliaments, especially in receiving states. Out of the 193-member states, 164 countries have adopted the compact. The United States was the first one to withdraw from the negotiations in December 2018 after the stocktaking conference in Mexico, and further criticised the compact for breaching the sovereignty of states (Wintour 2017). But, in the UN General Assembly where the compact was officially accepted as a document, only 152 countries voted for the compact, while 12 countries had abstained from voting and five countries voted against the compact.

In addition, the decision on adopting the GCM led to internal conflicts in many member states. The Belgium government collapsed over the decision to adopt the GCM with right-wing parties withdrawing their support for the minority government after their decision to sign the compact. Major receiving countries in Europe and North America faced opposition internally on their decision to sign it as well. Countries like Russia, Denmark, Slovenia, Croatia and Brazil can be considered as weak signatories since their decision to adopt the GCM was not representative of the majority voice in the respective states. These incidents signal that the debate on feasibility of the compact will be discussed further in the coming months.

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Updated On : 15th Mar, 2019

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