Reform wants to rule out Riigikogu support for UN migration pact

MP Jürgen Ligi (Reform).
MP Jürgen Ligi (Reform). Source: Sander Koit/ERR

The amendments to the statement regarding the UN Global Compact for Migration proposed by the Reform Party parliamentary group presume that the Estonian government makes a decision regarding the migration framework. They do not, however provide for the support of the Riigikogu.

The Reform parliamentary group wants to change the sentence "The Riigikogu in supporting the Global Compact on Migration emphasises the following principles," replacing the word "supporting" to "handling." It also wants to replace the sentence "The Riigikogu of the Republic of Estonia supports the accession of the UN Global Compact on Migration" altogether with the statement "The Riigikogu deems it necessary for the Government of the Republic to decide on the accession of the Global Compact on Migration taking into account the values described in this statement and the 22 March 2018 positions of the Government of the Republic at global migration pact negotiations.

Reform Party parliamentary group chairman Jürgen Ligi explained that the Riigikogu will not be voting on or handling the migration pact itself, but rather should with its statement outline the principles of cooperation on international migration, which the statement does.

"The statement essentially directs Estonia's migration policy when it highlights the principles most important to us in the migration pact: every country has the sovereign right to shape its own migration policy; states' sovereignty is defended; and the states have an inalienable right to shap its own immigration policy and legislation itself," Ligi said. "Estonia's interest here is to prevent illegal migration, fight against human trafficking and smuggling, and defend the rights of Estonian people abroad."

According to Ligi, the statement also stresses the provision that immigration is not a human right, but rather regulated by states according to their own state legislation, as well as the fact that of utmost importance is effective border management to ensure security.

"It is stressed that states take back their citizens and that the root causes behind migration are addressed," he explained. "The statement also confirms that by acceding to the compact, nobody is accepting the obligation to broaden legal channels of immigration. And that every state is free and sovereign to decide if and which of these to use themselves in the future."

By taking a stance with regard to the compact, the Riigikogu is requiring the government to act according to these principles of the compact, he continued.

"It must assess whether Estonia's positions as approved by the government on 22 March have in the government's opinion as negotiator been fully taken into account, and whether the principles stressed in the statement have been taken into account as well," Ligi said.


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Editor: Aili Vahtla

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