Slovakia joined 180 other countries and supported the UN’s Global Compact on Refugees on December 17. The non-binding document is designed to support countries that have taken in 25 million refugees, the TASR newswire reported.
The USA and Hungary voted against the pact, while Eritrea, Libya, and the Dominican Republic abstained from voting.
The UN’s refugee compact is not the same document as the Global Compact for Migration, which the UN will vote on later this week. Slovakia continues to oppose this document.
Yes to the refugee compact
“In the UN General Assembly, a permanent representative of the Slovak Republic to the UN supported the aforementioned document alongside the representatives of 180 other countries,” said Boris Gandel, spokesperson for Slovakia’s Foreign Affairs Ministry, as quoted by TASR.
Apart from Slovakia, 26 other EU member states supported the document.
The approved refugee compact focuses on increasing governments and private sector investments into infrastructure, or health and education, in countries where refugees had to flee from their homes.
“It is the biggest effort to broadly share refugee responsibilities that I have witnessed in 34 years of work with refugees,” tweeted Filippo Grandi, UN High Commissioner for Refugees, adding nine of 10 refugees are now living in developing countries where basic services aren't adequately met.
Currently, nearly 70 million people have had to flee from their homelands, out of which more than 25 million crossed the border and became refugees.
What does the pact mean for Slovakia?
The measures contained in the refugee compact are voluntary, which
means that nothing will change for Slovakia.
The country has no relocation programme. It took 149 Assyrian
Christians from Iraq back in 2016, but human rights organisations say
that it has capacities to help more people, the Sme daily wrote.
“We will certainly be capable to offer new hope to several hundreds of
people a year, families with children, single women and students from
the ranks of refugees,” Zuzana Števulová from the Human Rights League
If every country took care of several refugees every year, the
situation in countries that struggle with them the most would be much
better, she added.
The parliament did not vote on the compact
Since the Global Compact on Refugees is not an international treaty,
it is not necessary for the Slovak parliament to endorse it.
The approval of the Slovak parliament and government are necessary for the
country’s representative to the UN to support legally binding
documents, Sme pointed out.
No to migration pact
The Global Compact for Migration, which is to secure safe, controlled and legal migration, has been discussed in Marrakesh, where 85 percent of 193 countries voted for it on December 10.
It has been rejected by Australia, the US, and central European countries, including Slovakia.
However, the UN is expected to adopt the pact on December 19 in New York City, as reported by TASR.