United Nations (United States) (AFP) - The United States has withdrawn from a United Nations pact to improve the handling of migrant and refugee situations, deeming it "inconsistent" with its policies.
"The US Mission to the United Nations informed the UN Secretary-General that the United States is ending its participation in the Global Compact on Migration," the US said in its statement on Saturday.
Though widely seen as a symbolic move, it was condemned by rights group Amnesty International, which slammed it Sunday as a "devastating abdication of responsibility in the world's largest refugee crisis."
In September 2016, the 193 members of the UN General Assembly unanimously adopted a non-binding political declaration called the New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants, which pledged to uphold the rights of refugees, help them resettle and ensure they have access to education and jobs.
"The New York Declaration contains numerous provisions that are inconsistent with US immigration and refugee policies and the Trump Administration's immigration principles. As a result, President (Donald) Trump determined that the United States would end its participation in the Compact process that aims to reach international consensus at the UN in 2018," the US statement read.
US Ambassador Nikki Haley said that the United States would continue its "generosity" in supporting migrants and refugees around the world, but added: "our decisions on immigration policies must always be made by Americans and Americans alone."
The United States "will decide how best to control our borders and who will be allowed to enter our country. The global approach in the New York Declaration is simply not compatible with US sovereignty," Haley said.
Miroslav Lajcak of Slovakia, the current UN General Assembly president, said Sunday that he regretted the decision.
Lajcak "stresses that migration is a global phenomenon that demands a global response and that multilateralism remains the best way to address global challenges," a statement from his office read.
Farhan Aziz Haq, a spokesman for UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres added: "We regret the decision but there is still plenty of time for US re-engagement. This should not disrupt the clear, unanimous outcome of the New York Declaration for such a global compact."
Under Trump and his "America First" policies, the United States has withdrawn from several global commitments made under the administration of president Barack Obama, including the Paris climate deal.
More recently, the United States pulled out of the Paris-based culture and education body, UNESCO, accusing it of "anti-Israel bias."