UN General Assembly on Wednesday formally ratified a UN deal on migration by a large majority — but without the support of the United States and a string of other countries.
A total of 152 countries voted in favour of the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration, which was agreed upon earlier this month by 165 UN members at a meeting in Morocco.
Twelve countries abstained while five nations voted against it — the United States, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Poland, and Israel.
Billed as the first international document on managing migration, it lays out 23 objectives to open up legal migration and discourage illegal border crossings, as the number of people on the move globally has surged to more than almost 260 million, or 3.4 percent of the world’s population.
More than 80 percent of those moving between countries do so legally, but more 60,000 people have died trying to cross border illicitly since 2000, according to UN figures.
Rows over the accord have erupted in several European Union nations, sparking the collapse of Belgium’s coalition government and pushing Slovakia’s foreign minister to tender his resignation.
From the United States to Europe and beyond, right-wing and populist leaders have taken increasingly draconian measures to shut out migrants in recent years.
According to diplomats, the United States had sought up to the last minute to convince other countries not to support the pact.
The agreement is not legally binding, which has raised concerns among NGOs and human rights advocates that its provisions may not be fully implemented.
In Europe — where a wave of migration from the Middle East and North Africa in 2015 bolstered far-right politicians — a dozen states either opposed the pact or abstained.
Hungary once again denounced the pact as a “serious mistake” and raised the spectre of a fresh influx of migrants, while Brazil’s far-right president-elect Jair Bolsonaro said migrants had made parts of France “unlivable” and announced he would withdraw from the pact.