Human rights online: Internet access and minorities (lighting session)

8 Dec 2016 14:45h - 15:15h

Event report

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The lightning session moderated by Ms Marianne Franklin, Steering Committee member of IRPC (Internet Rights & Principles Coalition) and Professor of Global Media & Politics (Goldsmiths, UK), focused on the pivotal role that Internet access and mobile phones play in the refugees’ situation, helping families stay connected and giving newcomers the necessary tools to be able to start a new life in another part of the world. She invited the audience to look at previous work on the subject, including the document published after this year’s EuroDIG workshop on Confronting the digital divide (2) – Refugees, human rights and Internet access, the work of the Internet Rights and Principles Coalition (IRPC) and the Charter of Human Rights and Principles for the Internet.

She gave the floor to NGO representatives who addressed the situation in their home countries. They spoke about the importance of connecting the refugees as part of the connecting the next billion agenda, the issue of guaranteeing affordability when on the move, digital care and data ethics regarding this population. 

It was pointed out that this problem does not only affect people moving across countries, but also those internally displaced due to social conflict and civil wars.

At the end of the session, Ms Franklin underlined that anyone can become a refugee or a displaced person, it just takes one misfortune (an earthquake, a hurricane) and that it is the governments’ duty to help this population. 

by Agustina Callegari, Internet Society Youth Obsevatory