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Good morning, this is Kasmira. Indian press cartoonist Rachita Taneja, whose satirical webcomics chronicle daily life in India, will receive the Kofi Annan Courage in Cartooning Award 2024 in Geneva today alongside Hong Kong artist Zunzi.

She sat down with Geneva Solutions to discuss the worrying lack of transparency in India's general election process, and finding the courage to draw in a country that has been cracking down on the press and limiting freedom of expression.

photo journaliste

Kasmira Jefford


On our radar

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A photo of Rachita Taneja taken from the documentary film series Draw for Change!, six portraits of women press cartoonists around the world, broadcast by Swiss Television RTS. (Freedom Cartoonists Foundation/RTS)

Rachita Taneja sits back against the sofa cushions in the lobby of the Geneva lakeside Mon Repos hotel, her hand resting on the glass table. Her index finger bears an unmistakable brown diagonal mark – a sign that she’s recently cast her vote in the world’s biggest general election.

“It’s a crucial time right now,” says the Indian editorial cartoonist and winner of the Kofi Annan Courage in Cartooning Award 2024. She will collect the prize at a ceremony on Friday at the Maison de la Paix, which also marks World Press Freedom Day.

A colossal undertaking spanning several weeks, from 19 April and 1 June, and 970 million voters, the election has been the all-consuming topic of her popular webcomic, Sanitary Panels, over the past month. “I’m non-stop on Twitter (X), monitoring what’s happening in India and what people are saying about the election,” she says.

Read the full story on Geneva Solutions.

Solutions lab

⛈️GIMME SHELTER. With record numbers of people being displaced by the impacts of climate change, the UN Refugee Agency announced a new fund aimed to assist refugees, their host communities and the countries worst hit by climate disasters.

Money matters. The UNHCR is seeking to raise some $100 million to provide sustainable resources in refugee camps including clean energy to provide water, schools and health facilities.

Who’s impacted? In 2022, the International Displacement Monitoring Centre reported a record 32.6 million people internally displaced by disasters, 98 per cent of whom fled due to weather-related events, such as droughts, flooding and wildfires. The World Bank says as many as 216 million people could be displaced by 2050 if meaningful climate action is not taken.

🤕PAINFUL TRUTH. A manual to help health professionals treating children in Gaza understand their pain is expected to be published in English and Arabic with funding from the Qatar-based World Innovation Summit for Health.

Why it’s timely. The guide comes as doctors on the frontlines of the conflict between Israel and Hamas noted how children arriving in emergency rooms with traumatic injuries “underplay” their pain. Amid the horrors of the war, children may downplay their suffering, which physicians may misinterpret.

Numbers. Children have been amongst the highest casualties in the conflict, with more than 25,000 having been killed or injured, or one every ten minutes, and 19,000 orphaned. Save The Children estimates that ten children in the enclave lose at least one limb every day.

Here’s what else is happening

In numbers

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It’s how many years it may take to rebuild demolished homes in Gaza if reconstruction follows the pace of previous conflicts in the Strip, according to a report by the UN Development Programme. It is estimated that at least 370,000 homes, or 60 to 70 per cent of all units, have been damaged, including roughly 80,000 that have been completely destroyed, since October 2023, when a Hamas attack on Israel triggered the start of the latest conflict.

Humanitarians have warned about the effect that an expected assault on the southern city of Rafah, where some 1.4 million displaced people have taken refuge, may have if they are again forced to flee.

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