This article examines the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration (GCM) from three perspectives: First, while the GCM is not legally binding, the human rights obligations of states which underpin the GCM are. The application of international human rights law to everyone, including migrants, has led to frictions in the inter-governmental negotiation process, with some states declining to sign the GCM. States cannot relieve themselves of the human rights obligations to which they are already, voluntarily, bound by refusing to sign the GCM. Second, the GCM asserts the human rights of migrants, and by implication condemns state practices contrary thereto, but it also yields to political sensitivities. Thus, we encounter a Compact that defends existing human rights standards, but concurrently submits to political will and tolerates conditions of vulnerability. Third, the GCM’s implementation depends upon, as yet undefined, partnerships with non-State actors and monitoring against human rights standards.
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