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UK statement at the International Organization for Migration Council

UK statement at the International Organization for Migration Council delivered on 28 November 2017.

The International Organization for Migration is headquartered in Geneva
The International Organization for Migration is headquartered in Geneva

I’d like to thank the President of the GA and the SRSG for coming here to give us this very helpful up-date and outlook on the development of the Global Compact for Safe, orderly and Regular Migration. We are grateful to you both for recognising that Migration is an issue which needs New York and Geneva to work seamlessly together.

The UK would like to see a Global Compact on Migration (GCM) which offers an effective global framework to ensure that migration is safe, orderly, regular and responsible, in line with our commitment in SDG 10.7 and thereby reducing irregular, unmanaged and risky migration. Success would be the outlining of a clear and credible vision of migration within the existing rules based international order, recognising that both states and migrants have rights and responsibilities.

The Compact provides us all with an opportunity to set out in one place what a well-managed global system of migration looks like, and the policy and operational mechanisms required to deliver it.

The UK Vision for the GCM

The UK believes a global framework for managing migration should be based around the three principles laid out by the Prime Minister at UNGA 2016: 1) the international community must help ensure refugees seek asylum in the first country that can offer protection; 2) We need to improve the ways we distinguish between refugees fleeing persecution and economic migrants; 3) We must maintain the right and obligation of all states to control their borders. The Compact could also lay out measures to facilitate well-managed migration. Where significant global consensus already exists, including these areas in the Compact would increase the likelihood of them being implemented in the short term. For more innovative ideas – such as the UK’s interest in expanded biometric identification – the Compact will help bring these ideas to a global audience.

It is also an opportunity to reduce vulnerabilities of migrants, including prevention of human trafficking and modern slavery, and for all countries to commit to fully implementing existing legal frameworks which protect fundamental human rights for their own citizens and for migrants.

Implementation of the GCM

The UK believes that any mechanism or arrangement for follow-up to agreements reached in the Compact should:

• Be a “light touch” monitoring mechanism;

• Fit within existing UN governance structures and not lead to the creation of any new structures;

• Ensure member states have regular opportunities for inputting into the process;

• Have an appropriate role for the IOM, taking advantage of their introduction into the UN system and the IOM’s policy and technical expertise, as recognised in the Compact modalities.

I’d like to express the UK’s appreciation to IOM for its work on GCM so far, and express our hope and expectation that it will continue to serve MS needs in whatever role the Compact determines for it, as the leading organisation on migration.

Published 29 November 2017