Background Briefing: June 20, 2018


A Global Report on the Refugee Crisis

On World Refugee Day we  begin with the report just out from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees “Global Trends: Forced Displacement in 2017” and speak with Chris Boian, the spokesperson for the UNHCR. After so much media attention focused on the plight of refugee children separated from their parents by the Trump Administration, today President Trump reversed his cruel policy of ripping crying children from their mothers’ arms at the southern border.  But across the world the refugee problem is worse than it has ever been since World War II, so we look at the wider global landscape in which 68.5 million people were displaced as of the end of 2017, with 44,500 people forcibly displaced every day. With one out of every 110 people in the world displaced, 20% are Palestinians and the remaining two thirds come from Syria, Afghanistan, South Sudan, Myanmar and Somalia. And while nativist sentiments against refugees have been stirred up and exploited by President Trump and his advisors, anti-refugee and anti-immigrant policies with overtly racist overtones are on the rise not just in the U.S., but across Europe too.


Trump, Haley and Pompeo Hand Human Rights to China and Russia to Define

Then we speak with Barbara Crossettethe U.N. correspondent for The Nation and the senior consulting editor and writer for Pass Blue, which provides independent coverage of the U.N., where she has an article “As Expected, the U.S. Quits the UN Human Rights Council”. She joins us to discuss how much the Trump Administration’s close ties to Israel influenced the decision, given the ridiculous number of times the UN criticizes Israel, and the expectation that in abdicating America’s traditional role as the main champion of human rights, the vacuum on the council will be filled by China and Russia and others who will reshape human rights according to their definitions.


The Real Message in the Bible About How to Treat Refugees

Then finally with the leading champion of Trump’s “zero tolerance” policy on immigration, Jeff Sessions, using the Bible to justify a state policy of child abuse, we speak with the Reverend Dr. Liz Theoharis, the Co-Chair with the Reverend William Barber of the Poor People’s Campaign, a national Call for Moral Revival. She joins us to discuss her article with the Reverend William Barber at The Guardian “Jeff Sessions got the Bible wrong. We care for strangers, not rob their rights” and how the real message throughout the Bible is reflected in Isaiah 10: “Woe to those who make unjust laws, to those who issue oppressive decrees, to deprive the poor of their rights and withhold justice from the oppressed”.