June 4, 2018
intergovernmental negotiations on the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration

General Statement by H.E. Archbishop Bernardito Auza
Apostolic Nuncio, Permanent Observer of the Holy See

Opening session of the fifth round of the intergovernmental negotiations
on the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration

New York, 4 June 2018
Distinguished Co-facilitators,

My Delegation would like to thank you and your team for your continued efforts to preserve the integrity and purpose of the Global Compact while responding to the legitimate concerns expressed by Delegations throughout the process.

The current draft reflects what the international community has learned in practice, namely, that safe, orderly and regular migration is premised both on the sovereign right of States to determine their own migration policy and on person-centered policies that uphold the dignity and human rights of every migrant. The current draft shows that these two principles are not contradictory, but complimentary, and provide, internationally, the foundation for effective migration policy.

Distinguished Co-facilitators,

My Delegation commends your efforts to find a solution to concerns regarding the structure of the text, proposing a revised draft that, in our opinion, adequately reflects the Compact’s non-legally binding nature and, at the same time, establishes a comprehensive normative framework of best practices and migration policies that have proven to be instrumental in helping States to meet the demands of their particular national and regional circumstances. This will remain the Compact’s greatest asset and the measure of its success.

My Delegation also appreciates your efforts to close the protection gaps that remained in the previous version of the draft. In particular, we welcome the inclusion of the principle of non-refoulement, the adoption of practical solutions to address displacement caused by slow and sudden-onset disasters, the explicit listing of the basic social services that States are to provide, and a number of concrete references to the best interest of the child, to family unity, to the work of faith-based organizations, and to protections for particularly vulnerable migrants.  

In addition, the improved language on return and detention, regular pathways, as well as on international cooperation, has come close to providing the balance Delegations requested during the previous rounds of negotiations and discussions.

Distinguished Co-facilitators,

As we address each section and objective, my Delegation still has some concerns about a number of references that appear in the draft.

For now, we would like to call your attention to a particular issue that we have raised from the very first round of negotiations: namely, the inclusion of documents not internationally negotiated that do not share consensus in the General Assembly. The World Health Organization (WHO) Framework of Priorities and Guiding Principles to promote the health of Refugees and Migrants is one of these.

As we have pointed out, this particular framework, unlike MICIC (Migrants in Countries in Crisis) guidelines for example, was not negotiated or internationally agreed by States. Such a lack of intergovernmental scrutiny has allowed the WHO document to promote explicitly the controversial health service package known as MISP (Minimal Initial Services Package), both without consensus and while still under review. We therefore call again for its deletion and for the deletion of the references to the OHCHR (Office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights) principles and the GMG (Global Migration Group) Handbook, which similarly include controversial language that was not internationally negotiated and has secured no consensus.

Every sovereign State can make its own decision about how best to work with UN Agencies and how to respond to their recommendations, but the above-mentioned documents should not be included in a Compact together with language and principles that have been objects of meticulous intergovernmental negotiations; negotiations, indeed, that have, in some cases, deliberately excluded many of the recommendations these documents promote.

Distinguished Co-facilitators,

We look forward to continuing to work constructively toward the adoption of a consensus text that adequately addresses the concerns of the Delegations present and that upholds the dignity and humanity of all migrants, regardless of status.

I thank you.