The Global Compact on Refugees


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On Monday, 17th December 2018, the United Nations General Assembly affirmed a non-legally binding Global Compact on Refugees. The overwhelming majority of States (181) voted in favour of adopting the compact.

Following the 2016 New York Declaration, the High Commissioner for Refugees took up the task of developing and proposing a new global compact on refugees in consultation with States and other stakeholders. That process comprised a series of thematic discussions and meetings in 2017 followed by formal consultations on successive drafts between February and July 2018. This compact will provide a framework of 20 action points to support the rights of over 68.5 million people who have been forced to flee their homes, 25.4 million of whom have crossed borders to become refugees.

The UN Secretary General, António Guterres, acknowledged migration as a defining characteristic of human history and stated: ‘The answer is effective international cooperation in managing migration to ensure that its benefits are most widely distributed, and that the human rights of all concerned are properly protected.’

The global compact strengthens the international response to the movement of refugees, and builds on existing international law and standards, including the 1951 Refugee Convention and human rights treaties, and seeks to better define cooperation to share responsibilities.

The four key objectives of the compact are to:

ease the pressures on host countries;
enhance refugee self-reliance;
expand access to third-country solutions;
support conditions in countries of origin for return in safety and dignity.

Undersecretaries of the Vatican’s Migrants and Refugees Section, Jesuit priest Father Michael Czerny and Scalabrinian Missionary Fr Fabio Baggio, signed the compact on behalf of the Holy See. Fr Baggio noted that the UN document elaborates on the Pope’s four Gospel-based actions: welcome, protect, promote and integrate.

You can read the full text of the document here:

Global Compact on Refugees