The Weekly Round-Up
The Weekly Round-Up
Welcome to The Briefing newsletter by Jason Clarke and Will Maddox. This week, we look at refugee inspired art in India, reduction in funding for the UN, reduced refugee thresholds in the US, and a South American refugee crisis.
“The Flow,” an art installation by New Delhi-based artist Subba Ghosh in the 2018 Indian Art Fair, is inspired by the world’s ongoing refugee crisis. Paintings of suffering refugees, the sound of crashing waves and flickering light are all part of the experience. Other works in the fair include refugee figures hanging from the ceiling to symbolize their suspended status. Stories of displacement, suffering and the refugee crisis dominated this year’s fair.
Last month, the United States reduced its funding to the UN Relief and Works Agency, which provides food, education and medical services to Palestinian refugees all over the Middle East. Electricity is limited to four hours a day and medical facilities are closing down due to lack of fuel, causing refugee protests in the area. For many in Palestine, the UN is the only organization protecting their rights, and with the US cuts, officials say that all services in the Gaza strip may end within months.
President Trump decided to reduce the total number of refugees accepted in the U.S. to 45,000 when the number was at 110,000 per year during the Obama years. Between the refugee reduction and the travel ban, refugee infrastructure is being reduced all over the country. The International Institute of St. Louis shut down its satellite in Springfield, Missouri where many refugees live, for the rest of the fiscal year. The organization helps resettle refugees with English classes, tutoring, micro-lending and translation services.
Most refugee crises take readers to Asia, Africa and the Middle East, but Venezuelan refugees have been pouring across borders into Colombia and Brazil over the last few years, as economic conditions in the country worsen. Colombia took in at least 500,000 Venezuelans at the end of 2017, but plans to send military personnel to patrol the border and make it more difficult to cross the border illegally. The food shortages, hyperinflation and economic crisis show no sign of letting up.