JRS Australia Condemns the Australian Government’s Refusal to Adopt the Global Compact on Migration

United Nations in NYC Global Compacts

“Adopting the GCM clearly benefits all countries, the international community and migrants”

Today, The Australian government confirmed that it will not adopt the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly, and Regular Migration (GCM). Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) Australia condemns this decision and strongly urges the government to reconsider its position.

The GCM is a historic development in the global governance of migration. It is the first universal instrument to provide common frameworks, guiding principles and approaches in dealing with international migration.

The GCM’s final draft was completed in July 2018. It is a comprehensive document that ‘sets out common understandings, shared responsibilities and unity of purpose regarding migration’. It is a call and manifesto for improving cooperation on international migration. More than 180 countries are likely to adopt the GCM in December 2018; including all UN member states in the Asia Pacific region.

Since the negotiations began in February 2017, JRS Australia and the Asia Pacific Refugee Rights Network (APRRN) have been actively involved in multi-stakeholder consultations as a key civil society voice. JRS Australia Director  and APRRN’s focal point on the GCM, Carolina Gottardo was also present at most of the six member-state negotiations and at the completion of the final draft in July 2018.

“Adopting the GCM clearly benefits all countries, the international community and migrants” says Ms Gottardo.”

The government claims that Australia does not need to sign the Compact because “we have already achieve the goals of the GCM.” But, by definition, migration is a global issue. Countries cannot manage migration on their own. Australia cannot pretend to manage migration with an isolationist approach.

“The few countries that have pulled out of the GCM have all politicised this issue to appease select groups of domestic constituents,” said Ms Gottardo. “Australia invested considerable time and resources in shaping the GCM and to pull out at the last minute will not benefit a society that has been built on the benefits of migration.”

“The Compact does not tell states how to manage borders. It is not a threat to sovereignty,” says JRS Australia’s Director, Carolina Gottardo. “In fact, national sovereignty is one of the key principles of the Compact and the GCM clearly acknowledges the rights of signatories to manage their borders.”

JRS Australia strongly urges the Australian government to reconsider its decision to pull out of the GCM and recognise the practical benefits this historic framework can bring millions of migrants in decades to come.



Media Comment:

Carolina Gottardo

Director, JRS Australia

02 9356 3888 or 0414880625

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