Vatican adopts the Global Compact on Migration

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More than 160 countries, including the Holy See, agreed on Monday 10 December 2018 to a non-binding UN migration accord that seeks to ensure the safe, orderly and humane movement of people around the world.

The agreement was struck at a two-day Intergovernmental Conference in Marrakech, Morocco to adopt the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration (GCM).

The Compact is the world’s first international agreement on migration in general and comes after last month’s Global Compact on Refugees (GCR) that was approved by the Third Committee of the United Nations General Assembly in New York.

The GCM is not a convention or a treaty, it is a non legally binding agreement that expresses many universal values as objectives for example, to save lives, prevent smuggling and trafficking, provide accurate information, facilitate fair recruitment, reduce vulnerabilities in migration, manage borders well and invest in skills development. Multiple proposals and best practices follow each objective.

The Holy See has been involved in the process for more than two years applying Pope Francis’s approach as expressed in four verbs: to welcome, to protect, to promote and to integrate. The four verbs were expanded by the Holy See’s Section for Migrants and Refugees into 20 Action Points for pastoral planning and evaluation. They became an essential part of the Holy See’s overall official contribution to the consultations in 2017 and the negotiations in 2018.

A number of the principles and measures in the 20 Points are reflected in the final texts of the Compacts – specifically in about 15 of the 23 Objectives of the GCM.


The four verbs that sum up the Holy See’s response to the challenges posed to the political community, civil society and the Church when it comes to how we help migrants and refugees are explained in this short film. It is subtitled in English.

To Welcome
“A responsible and dignified welcome of our brothers and sisters begins by offering them decent and appropriate shelter”

To Protect
“We are speaking about millions of migrant workers, especially men and women in irregular situations. Millions of asylum seekers and displaced persons; and millions of victims of human trafficking defending their inalienable rights, ensuring their fundamental freedoms and respecting their dignity are duties which compel one and all.”

To Promote
“Protecting migrants, refugees and displaced persons is not enough, what is required is the promotion of their integral human development. Responsibility for the full human promotion of migrants and their families begins with their home communities. That is where such promotion should be guaranteed, along with the right to choose to emigrate and also the right not to be forced to emigrate.”

To Integrate
“Integration, unlike assimilation or incorporation, is a two-way process, rooted essentially in the mutual recognition of each other’s cultural richness. I believe that taking action in these four ways, as individuals and in groups, is our duty today.”


Global Compact on Migration
Letter from Vatican on the Adoption of the Global Compact on Migration

Holy See
The Holy See has a website for its Section on Migrants and Refugees.