0520 GMT January 26, 2020
The Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration was approved in July by all 193 member UN nations except the US, which backed out last year, according to Reuters.
It followed the biggest influx of migrants into Europe since World War II, many fleeing conflicts and 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, in line with indications earlier this month.
“The Czech Republic has long favored the principle of separating legal and illegal migration,” Deputy Prime Minister Richard Brabec told a news conference.
“That is what the Czech Republic’s and other European countries’ suggestions aimed for. The final text does not reflect those proposals.”
The Czech concerns have been shared by the right-wing governments of Hungary and Austria, which have also said they will not sign the agreement at a ceremony in Morocco in December.
Bulgaria’s coalition government, which includes the anti-migration United Patriots party, has also dropped out of the accord. Poland has said it may follow suit.
The nonbinding 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.