Chile shocks with last minute withdrawal from Marrakech migration pact

SANTIAGO – Just hours before world leaders gathered in Marrakech to sign the UN migration pact, Chile’s government pulled out. Both the timing and the decision come as a surprise, although the Marrakech pact had been criticized by other countries. The sub-secretary of Internal Affairs, Rodrigo Ubilla, defended the decision in daily El Mercurio, stating that “migration is no human right”.

Although in July, Chile, among 192 other UN members, approved the pact, one day before the summit in Marrakech was held, the government announced it won´t sign. With this refusal, the government joins a group of countries, including the United States, Australia and the Dominican Republic, who also withdrew from signing the Marrakech pact.

The decision, as well as the timing, surprised the public and Chilean opposition. In an interview with El Mercurio, Rodrigo Ubilla, sub-secretary of Internal Affairs, emphasized that “countries should determine their own entry requirements, as migration is no human right”. Although the pact is non-binding, countries who have seen an increase in migration over the last years fear that signing the pact will only stimulate this migration.

[VIDEO] Chileans and immigrants march together against racism

Marrakech pact signed today, without Chile

Without Chile, but in the presence of 164 other UN members, the migration pact was signed today in Marrakech, Morocco. The non-binding agreement, which carries the name The Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration (GCM), is trying to get members to work together on migration topics. As in various parts of the world, migration has become a hot topic for governments, the UN hopes to be able to manage these migration flows between UN members, using the GCM-pact as outline.

Migration is a global issue that should be handled through international cooperation, is the philosophy behind the pact. Since 2000, over 60,000 migrants have died trying to get a better life in another country. Last year, there were 285 million migrants, according to the UN.

This increase in migration has resulted in anti-migration policies, adopted by countries such as the United States, Australia and several EU members like Austria, Hungary and Poland. Chile, receiving thousands of migrants from Haiti, Venezuela, Colombia and the Dominican Republic, among others, has become the next country to openly reject the migration pact, despite its participation in the negotiations ahead of the Marrakech summit.

The refusal from the Chilean government is not definitive, as the government will participate at the UN summit on December 19 where the pact will be further discussed.

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