Media CenterCRS Reacts to U.S. Vote on U.N.’s Global Refugee Compact

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BALTIMORE, MD, December 17, 2018 – Catholic Relief Services (CRS) is disappointed the United States voted against the United Nations' Global Compact on Refugees (GCR). 

The non-binding U.N. resolution was endorsed by 181-member countries, with only the U.S. and Hungary voting “no”. The compact represents a historic systematized effort to support the world’s growing refugee population, which now numbers more than 25 million people.

“It’s encouraging to see the global community coalesce around meeting the needs of vulnerable refugees,” said Bill O’Keefe, CRS’s vice president for government relations and advocacy. “But American leadership and commitment is necessary for fixing the over-burdened refugee system. These needs continue to grow.”

A main objective of the GCR is to provide relief to those lower-and middle-income countries that have taken on a disproportionate share of the refugee-hosting burden. A handful of these countries– such as Turkey, Pakistan and Lebanon--are home to more than three quarters of the world’s refugee population. The GCR provides a comprehensive roadmap for how the international community can meet the needs of new refugee arrivals while also addressing the longer-term needs of refugees and citizens of refugee-hosting countries. It’s estimated that on average, a refugee will spend 17 years in exile.

“Parents need jobs, children need education, and families need decent housing and other services so that they can live with dignity,” O’Keefe said.  “As Americans and as Catholics, we have a moral responsibility to participate and in fact lead global strategies to address the causes and effects of forced migration.  Now is not the time for the U.S. to turn its back on those who suffer.”

Click here to read about CRS’s original research into refugee integration as well as to see a list of CRS’s U.S. policy recommendations on the issue.


Catholic Relief Services is the official international humanitarian agency of the Catholic community in the United States. The agency alleviates suffering and provides assistance to people in need in more than 100 countries, without regard to race, religion or nationality. CRS’ relief and development work is accomplished through programs of emergency response, HIV, health, agriculture, education, microfinance and peacebuilding.  For more information, visit or and follow Catholic Relief Services on social media: Facebook, Twitter at @CatholicRelief, @CRSnews and @CRSnoticias, InstagramPinterest and YouTube.



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Jim Stipe

Digital and Social Media Manager

Jim Stipe
December 18, 2018

Based in Baltimore, MD

As the digital and social media manager, Jim oversees Catholic Relief Services’ social media channels, shoots photos and video, and uses digital and visual tools for creative storytelling. He also manages the CRS Newswire, which provides a range of information related to poverty and development....More