Only Hungary backed the United States in a vote at the United Nations General Assembly against a non-binding agreement that provides greater support for countries where most of the world’s more than 25 million refugees live.

Meanwhile, 181 countries voted in favour of the annual resolution on the work of the UN refugee agency, while Libya, the Dominican Republic and Eritrea abstained.

The Global Compact on Refugees also strengthens shared responsibility to help those who are forced to flee their countries because of conflict or persecution. 

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The resolution has generally been approved by consensus for more than 60 years.

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 agreement is separate from another non-binding agreement to ensure safe, orderly and humane migration which was approved on 10 December by nearly 85 percent of the UN’s 193 member states in spite of fierce opposition from the US.

The Global Compact on Refugees was adopted at a time when a record 68.5 million people have been forced to flee their homes. This includes 25.4 million who have crossed borders to become refugees and 43.1 million who are displaced within their home countries. 

According to the UN refugee agency, nine out of 10 refugees live in developing countries, where basic services like health or education are already strained. 

The US has found itself increasingly isolated at the 193-member UN General Assembly over its concerns about the promotion of abortion and plans to address the global refugee crisis.

It was the only country to oppose the UN refugee agency’s draft resolution last month when it was first negotiated and agreed by the General Assembly human rights committee. It said elements of the text ran counter to its sovereign interests, citing the global approach to refugees and migrants.

Donald Trump attacks Angela Merkel for giving sanctuary to refugees

While General Assembly resolutions are non-binding, they can carry political weight. Donald Trump used his annual address to world leaders at the UN in September to lay out his drive to protect US sovereignty.

The US has also failed in a campaign which started last month during negotiations on several draft resolutions in the General Assembly human rights committee, against references to ”sexual and reproductive health” and “sexual and reproductive health-care services”.

It said the language has “accumulated connotations that suggest the promotion of abortion or a right to abortion that are unacceptable to our administration”.

Refugees in Paris forced to sleep among rats and rotting waste

On Monday, Washington unsuccessfully tried to remove two paragraphs from a General Assembly resolution on preventing violence and sexual harassment of women and girls. It was the only country to vote against the language, while 131 countries voted to keep it in the resolution and 31 abstained.

The US also failed in trying to remove similar language in another resolution on child, early and forced marriage on Monday, saying: “We do not recognise abortion as a method of family planning, nor do we support abortion in our reproductive health assistance.”

Only Nauru backed Washington in voting against the language, while 134 countries voted to keep it in the resolution and 32 abstained.

When Mr Trump came to power last year he reinstated the so-called Mexico City Policy, which withholds US funding for international organisations that perform abortions or provide information about abortion.

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