Defying fierce opposition from the United States and a few other nations, nearly 85 percent of the countries at the U.N. agreed Monday on a sweeping yet non-binding accord to ensure safe, orderly and humane migration.
The debate over the Global Compact for Migration, the first of its kind, has proven to be a pivotal test of the U.N.-led effort to crack down on the often dangerous and illegal movements across borders that have turned people smuggling into a booming worldwide industry.
“Unregulated migration bears a terrible human cost: a cost in lives lost on perilous journeys across deserts, oceans and rivers; and a cost in lives ruined at the hands of smugglers, unscrupulous employers and other predators,” U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres told a migration conference in Marrakech, Morocco.
“More than 60,000 migrants have died on the move since the year 2000,” he said. “This is a source of collective shame.”
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