181 Nations Voted to Help Refugees. Only Hungary and US Voted “No.”

The United States was a near global outlier Monday at the United Nations General Assembly in rejecting a framework to bolster international cooperation on refugees.

Only Hungary — headed by far-right Prime Minister Viktor Orban, whose administration has been accused of carrying out “a full-frontal assault on migrants and refugees” — joined the US in voting “no” on the Global Compact on Refugees (pdf). One hundred eighty-one nations voted to approve it, while three — the Dominican Republic, Eritrea, and Libya — abstained.

“The US said recently that it backed most of the refugee pact, but not the part aimed at limiting detentions of asylum seekers,” Agence France-Presse reported. The international agreement states: “The development of non-custodial and community-based alternatives to detention, particularly for children, will also be supported.”

As the Washington, DC-based advocacy organization Refugees International explains of the non-binding agreement:

The Compact was developed over the course of two years of consultations among governments, UN agencies, civil society organizations, the private sector, and refugees themselves. At present, around 85 percent of the world’s refugees are hosted by low- and middle-income countries, contributions from wealthy donor governments fall well-short of overall need, and opportunities for refugees to resettle to third countries have actually decreased. The overall goal of the Compact was to establish a more equitable, predictable, and inclusive refugee response framework based on international cooperation.

According to UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi, the compact “provides long overdue recognition that countries hosting large numbers of refugees provide a huge service to our shared humanity and sets out ways through which the rest of the world can help share the load.”

As such, the adoption of the document was

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