The world is talking about the Migration Compact, but the UN says its Refugee Pact is just as important. The agreement is up for a vote this week at a conference in Marrakesh. Can it win over the United States?
Ahead of a General Assembly vote next week, all 193 United Nations member nations have expressed support for the Refugee Pact, with one lone hold-out: the United States.
In the wake of its rejection of the migration compact, the US has also refused to endorse the UN’s Global Compact on Refugees, which the Trump administration says is “inconsistent with US immigration and refugee policies.”
The pact is not legally binding and does not need US support to pass the Assembly. But the UN says it represents a useful set of guidelines to deal with the highest level of human displacement the world has ever seen, and will thus save lives. But it needs US support to have maximum effect.
US policies are having a clear negative impact on attitudes towards refugees around the world, says Martin Engler, a migration analyst based in Berlin.
The UN’s lesser known Refugee Pact focuses on those fleeing from war and persecution. Its aim is to improve refugees’ living conditions, support host countries, and ensure a safe and voluntary return for refugees to their home countries.