The Czech Republic on Wednesday joined the growing ranks of European Union countries to reject a United Nations pact that aims to regulate the treatment of migrants worldwide.
The Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration was approved in July by all 193 member nations except the United States, which backed out last year. It followed the biggest influx of migrants into Europe since World War Two, many fleeing conflicts samd poverty in the Middle East, Africa and beyond.
But the Czech cabinet voted early on Wednesday not to sign the accord, a government source told Reuters.
Government officials have said the pact does not sufficiently differentiate between legal and illegal migration - a concern shared with the right-wing governments of Hungary and Austria who have also said they will not sign it at a ceremony in Morocco in December.
Bulgaria's coalition government, which includes the anti-migration United Patriots party, has also come out the accord, and its parliament is due to vote on the issue on Wednesday. Poland has said it may follow suit.
The non-binding UN pact addresses issues such as how to protect people who migrate, how to integrate them into new countries and how to return them to their home countries.
UN Special Representative for International Migration Louise Arbour has called moves to shun the accord regrettable and mistaken and said the compact simply aimed to improve the management of cross-border movements of people.
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