1227 GMT February 19, 2020
The Global Compact on Refugees also sets out measures to share responsibility to help those who are forced to flee their countries because of conflict or persecution, and ease the burden on the small number of nations that host the majority of refugees, AP reported.
UN refugee chief Filippo Grandi called the compact “historic” in a tweet, adding: “It is the biggest effort to broadly share refugee responsibilities that I have witnessed in 34 years of work with refugees.”
The vote in the 193-member assembly was 181-2, with the Dominican Republic, Eritrea and Libya abstaining.
UN Deputy Secretary General Amina Mohammed said the compact is very important because “in recent years, we have seen a contagion of closed borders, contrary to international refugee and human rights law.”
“Millions of refugees are facing years in exile, or risking their lives on dangerous journeys to an uncertain future,” she told an event marking the adoption. “Refugees are among those furthest behind. Persecuted, isolated and marginalized in their home countries, and too often in their countries of destination, they have struggled to be counted — and to count.”
UN High Commissioner for Refugees Grandi stressed that the compact is not just “a UN document that stays in a drawer.”
The rollout of the compact in 15 countries so far has mobilized $6.5 billion that wouldn’t have been accessible otherwise, he said. And it has already created “new momentum” and spurred “extraordinary projects,” including in Ethiopia, Kenya and Jordan, in such areas as energy, connectivity, communications and technology.
The agreement is separate from another nonbinding compact to ensure safe, orderly and humane migration that was approved Dec. 10 by nearly 85 percent of the UN member states over fierce opposition from the United States.
In his message commemorating International Migrants Day, marked on 10 December, UN Secretary General António Guterres said migration is “a powerful driver of economic growth, dynamism and understanding”.
Referring to the UN agreement ratified on December 10, the UN chief said on Tuesday, “This month, the world took a landmark step forward with the adoption of the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration”.
“Backed with overwhelming support by the membership of the United Nations, the compact will help us to address the real challenges of migration while reaping its many benefits”.
The UN chief called the compact “people-centered and rooted in human rights.”
The Global Compact for Migration is expected to be endorsed by the General Assembly today.
The Global Compact on Refugees was adopted at a time when a record-high 68.5 million people have been forced to flee their homes. This includes 25.4 million who have crossed borders to become refugees, 40 million who are displaced within their countries and 3.1 million who are seeking asylum.
Despite the Donald Trump administration’s opposition to the compact, Grandi said the US has voiced support for refugees. And his office is “about to close the year with the highest-ever contribution from the US to the UNHCR (the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees),” he said.