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SDE to submit draft declaration supporting UN migration pact to Riigikogu

The text of the SDE parliamentary group's draft declaration. 19 November 2018.
The text of the SDE parliamentary group's draft declaration. 19 November 2018. Source: ERR

The Social Democratic Party (SDE) parliamentary group is to submit to the Board of the Riigikogu on Mondy a draft declaration according to which the Riigikogu would support Estonia's joining of the UN Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration.

The SDE group is to submit the draft of the declaration titled "On the UN Global Compact for Migration" to the board at the Riigikogu sitting that starts at 15:00 EET on Monday, spokespeople for the parliamentary group said.

The junior coalition partner announced earlier that day that it wants the issue of Estonia's joining of the UN migration pact, which has thrown the government into a crisis, to be decided by the Riigikogu.

The Centre Party, the senior member of the ruling three-party coalition, has declared its support for the suggestion; fellow junior partner Pro Patria, meanwhile, is against it.

"The authors of the draft are of the opinion that in addition to engaging in legislative practice, the assembly elected by the people is obliged to discuss and take a stance on matters that are important to society," it stands in the explanatory remarks accompanying the draft regulation. "As the UN Global Compact on Migratio is not subject to ratification in the Riigikogu, the form of a declaration of the Riigikogu is best suited for the adoption of a prior stance. The initiators are convinced that in the event of the adoption of the declaration, the Riigikogu has unequivocally declared that the Republic of Estonia belongs among those nations which understand that no country alone is able to stop the flood of migration."

The draft declaration stresses that the UN Global Compact on Migration is a non-binding cooperation framework, as has likewise been emphasised by the Chancellor of Justice of the Republic of Estonia. It is a declaration negotiated by UN member states that would provide Estonia with the opportunity to improve international cooperation in connection with migration, including preventing illegal migration, fighting against human trafficking and human smuggling as well as protecting the rights of Estonian people in other countries.

Furthermore, the draft declaration emphasises the fundamental principle that each country has the sovereign right to decide about their migration policy themselves in conformity with international law.

Main points

In expressing its support for the UN Global Compact, the Riigikogu would emphasise the following principles contained in the UN compact:

- The Global Compact on migration respects the sovereignty of states and reaffirms the inalienable right of states to form their immigration policy and legislation. 

- The Global Compact on migration does not create new legal categories. Fundamental international rights and freedoms apply to every person, including participants in migration. Immigration, however, is not a human right, but rather is regulated by the states with their domestic legislative acts. 

- The Global Compact on migration considers the effective management of borders paramount in ensuring the security of states. 

- In a situation where states stand face to face with irregular and illegal immigration, the UN Compact is important for states to readmit their citizens. Ensuring the possibility of readmission is an important part of the entire compact. 

- The Global Compact on migration stresses the need to address the root causes of irregular migration and make efforts towards the implementation of the UN's 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

- With the Global Compact on Migration, states assume no obligation to expand their channels for legal migration. 

The Riigikogu would emphasise that the possible actions for the attainment of each objective listed in the pact are a list of examples to contribute to achieving the compact's objectives. Each country is free and sovereign to decide whether and which of them to use in their further activities.

The Riigikogu would express the conviction that the objectives of the compact will help combat as well as reduce illegal migration, including by mitigating the negative consequences for victims. 

In conclusion of the declaration, the Riigikogu would express its support for the adoption of the UN's Global Compact on Migration.


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Editor: Aili Vahtla

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