By Linda Bordoni
Developed by the United Nations over a 2-year process, the Compact is the first blueprint of its kind for states to work together to govern migration respecting human rights and the rule of law.
The Order of Malta is one of the signatories of the Compact. It has Permanent Observer Status at the UN General Assembly and it will be in Marrakesh on 10 and 11 December to endorse the document.
Speaking ahead of the signing ceremony, Albrecht von Boeselager, Grand Chancellor of the Order of Malta, expressed his satisfaction for the endeavor and spoke of the input the Order of Malta has been able to contribute to the drafting of the Compact that attempts to address all dimensions of international migration in a holistic and comprehensive way.
Von Boeselager explained that thanks to its long-standing and solid experience in assisting migrants and refugees through many different projects across the globe, the Order of Malta was able to offer much insight and value, and indeed participated in negotiations and procedures right from the beginning of the drafting process.
He said that a lot of its input focused on technical points and on highlighting the role of religion and faith-based organizations.
“Helping migrants, but also having an influence on the decisions of migrants in their countries of origin” he said.
The Compact: an achievement in itself
Bearing in mind that the Compact is not a binding document, von Boeselager said he believes that “we must be very satisfied that it was possible to draw-up such a Compact in negotiation with almost all countries of the world”.
“That, he said, is a great achievement!”
Von Boeselager expressed his confidence that it will have an effect, and pointed to the fact that in some countries they are already starting to implement some of the measures, like negotiating resettlement figures: “which country can take how many people.”
He said that for many the very negotiations, for example, for the Compact have been an eye-opener.
“The issues have become much more visible for many decision-makers” he said.
Strong and weak points
Von Boeselager said that in his opinion the strongest point contained in the Compact is not a point, but the fact that it is a multi-lateral Compact.
“Migration cannot be tackled by one nation alone. It’s a world-wide phenomenon, and the fact that the UN and all participants succeeded in having a multi-lateral compact is the strongest point” he said.
As for the weak points, von Boeselager said there are “quite a number of points where we would have wished that would have been even more concrete, but as further consultations are also part of the Compact, we are confident they can also be addressed later.
“All in all I think it’s a great success” he said.
The Grand Chancellor also explained that the Signing Ceremony is taking place in Marrakesh because Morocco has been one of the drivers and leading countries in the endeavor.
He said the meeting on 10 and 11 December is a formal gathering where the Compact will be confirmed by participating countries. He added that it also foresees a couple of consultations, including assessments on how the implementation will be done and the way forward.
The role of Pope Francis
Pope Francis has repeated called on all men and women of goodwill to “welcome, protect, promote and integrate” migrants. The Section for Migrants and Refugees that he heads at the Vatican Dicastery for Integral Human Development, has contributed its experience and voice to the process and the blueprint.
Von Boeselager said the Pope’s concern for the issue comes across loud and clear: “Nobody can ignore his voice. Pope Francis is one of the very few, if not the one remaining moral authority in the world”.
“I think people listen to his voice, he concluded, whether they then follow it is another question, but I am sure he is heard!”