The Weekly Round-Up

The Weekly Round-Up

Posted on in Africa, Emergencies, Europe, Middle East, Refugees.

Stone Town, Zanzibar as seen from the sky (photo by Nick J via Getty Images).

Welcome to The Briefing newsletter by Jason Clarke and Will Maddox. This week we look at the UK’s contradictory refugee policies, Bangladeshi generosity, refugees starting businesses and tropical difficulties.

Asylum Detention

The UK’s policies toward asylum seekers is causing a hunger strike at the Yarl’s Wood detention center. The country differentiates between asylum seekers, who have not been granted refugee status, and refugees, who have. While asylum seekers are waiting to have their applications reviewed, many are kept in prisons. UK authorities say the people in detention centers are illegal immigrants who will eventually be sent to their own country, but many are later approved as refugees.  There are 120 detainees who are waiting to have their applications reviewed and are on a hunger strike in the detention center.

Farmer Fellowship

As Rohingya refugees continue to flood over the border in Bangladesh, farmers are opening their land and homes to the fleeing families. The UN provided materials for shelters, which are often built on the Bangladeshi farmland. Since August, more than 688,000 people fled Myanmar due to violence. Many Bangladeshi citizens have donated food, clothing, shelter materials and land.

Entrepreneurs in Kurdistan

Of the 600,000 refugees and internally displaced people that live in Duhok, a region of Kurdistan, thousands are living outside official camps in rental houses, and have even been starting their own businesses. Many are refugees from the conflicts in Syria and Iraq, and have put a strain on local utilities and resources. The desire to avoid living in the camps leads many of the refugees to find work outside them.

Trouble in Paradise

According to the UN High Committee on Refugees, 5.5 million Syrians have left the country since the war began in 2011, and a few hundred found their way to settle on the tropical island of Zanzibar in Tanzania. The island has a robust tourist industry, providing work opportunities for some refugees, but its 17 percent unemployment rate and strict immigration policies add hurtles to employment for displaced Syrians.