Dutch parliament supports UN migration pact

A large majority in the lower house of Dutch parliament supports the government's intention to sign the United Nations' new migration pact next week, was revealed in a debate on the matter on Tuesday. 

In addition to coalition parties VVD, CDA, D66 and ChristenUnie, the pact is also supported by GroenLinks, PvdA and DENK, NU.nl reports PVV, 50Plus, SGP and FvD are against the pact. They fear that migrants may derive new rights form the pact. PvdD and SP are still considering.

The migration pact is the result of 18 months of international negotiations following the migration crisis of 2015. The assenting countries agree that international cooperation is necessary to manage migration. The number of people currently adrift worldwide reached a record number of 68 million. The pact has 23 objectives, including tackling the causes of migration and tackling human trafficking. It points to the obligation of migrants to comply with the laws and regulations of the country they are in, but also points to the host country's obligation to provide basic necessities. The pact is non binding.

The Dutch government has been planning to agree to this pact for months and has a number of arguments for doing so, according to the newspaper. Due to the expected population growth in Africa, climate change, and the political instability in countries around Europe, the government wants to be able to make agreements with the international community to manage migration in a safe, orderly and regulated way. For example, the government hopes that with the pact, Libya can be reprimanded for the dire circumstances in which refugees and asylum seekers are currently being helped. This could help put an end to human trafficking and exploitation that result from this form of migration.

In the debate on Tuesday, FvD leader Thierry Baudet said that the 'Marrakesh pact' is an "open invitation for Africa to come here". The PVV called a "suicide pact". The two parties filed a motion of no confidence against the government, but it only got 18 votes.

The VVD, CDA, D66, SP and ChristenUnie, among others, accused the two anti-immigrant parties of not sticking to the facts. They emphasized that the pact explicitly states that it is not binding. CDA parliamentarian Madeleine van Toorenburg accused the FvD of "demagogic rhetoric". D66 parliamentarian Maarten Groothuizen accused the two right-wing parties of fear mongering. 

VVD State Secretary Mark Harbers of Migration reiterated that the agreements from the pact are not legally enforceable. According to him, a judge can not derive any new rights or rules from the pact, because the objectives do not go beyond national laws and already applicable international treaties. In addition, the pact explicitly states that it is not legally binding and does not affect the sovereignty of countries. In order to "avoid misunderstandings", the government will release an explanation of their vote, which will again emphasize that the pact is not legally binding, he said.

According to Harbers, the fact that the pact is not legally binding does not mean that it is useless. In the agreements the government sees an important diplomatic means with which the Netherlands can, for example, appeal to countries to take back their citizens who are not entitled to stay in the Netherlands. In this way, the Netherlands can, for example, deport asylum seekers from safe countries who are not entitled to asylum in the Netherlands. 

Not all countries are convinced of the usefulness and necessity of this pact, according to the newspaper. The right-wing populist anti-immigration governments of the United States, Austria, Poland, Hungary and Italy already dropped out of the pact. About these countries Harbers said that there are "many people who read things in the pact that do not exist".