U.N. Drafts Agreement on Refugees and Migrants


More people are forcibly displaced from their homes today than at any time since the end of the Second World War.

But the plight of these people is so politically contentious that after days of intense negotiations over an international agreement, the nations of the world on Tuesday adopted a draft that contained virtually no concrete commitments to make their journeys better or safer. Nor does it have any force of law.

Western European countries, along with Russia, resisted what many had hoped would be a pledge to resettle one-tenth of all the people fleeing war and persecution. And the United States balked at language that would have committed all countries to not detain undocumented children who arrive at their borders.

What emerged late Tuesday was a 22-page draft “outcome document” that all 193 countries of the United Nations could abide. The document will serve as the basis for a meeting at the annual gathering of world leaders at the United Nations General Assembly next month.

Decisions on specific commitments on what countries should do to protect refugees and migrants were deferred until 2018.

The draft agreement comes at a time when refugees and migrants have become a divisive issue in European and American politics. In the presidential campaign in the United States, Donald J. Trump, the Republican nominee, has proposed barring Muslims from entering the country.

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