On 17 December the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution on the Report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees regarding questions relating to refugees, returnees and displaced persons and humanitarian questions that among other things affirms the global compact on refugees (paragraph 23). A total of 181 UN Member States, including Estonia, voted in favour. Against the resolution were 2 Member States.
The global compact on refugees is a framework in which the Member States of the UN express goodwill to seek solutions to the refugee crises, at the heart of which are people fleeing from death and torture. The compact on refugees will foster cooperation between UN agencies and Member States. It aims to find ways to cope with the large numbers of refugees forced to leave their homes due to crises, highlighting the need for help in refugee camps and crises situations in particular. The compact emphasises among other things the responsibility of countries people are forced to leave.
The compact is not legally binding and does not entail legally binding commitments. Estonia, like other countries, will continue to have sovereign right to determine its own migration and asylum policies.
The UN has supported refugees since it was established. There are existing international rules that regulate matters related to refugees laid out in the 1951 Refugee Convention and its 1967 Protocol. Estonia has already adopted this convention and its protocol, on which the compact on refugees is based. In recent years, the role of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in providing aid and the need for its better coordination has grown due to long-running conflicts in the Middle East and elsewhere.
Estonia’s Ambassador to the UN Sven Jürgenson represented Estonia at the UN General Assembly.
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