"Increasingly, governments, corporations, international organizations, and nongov-ernmental organizations (NGOs) are seeking to use digital technologies to track the identities of migrants and refugees. This surging interest in digital identity technologies would seem to meet a pressing need: the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) states that in today’s modern world, lacking proof of identity can limit a person’s access to services and socio-economic participation, including employment opportunities, housing, a mobile phone, and a bank account. But this report argues that the tech-nologies and processes involved in digital identity will not provide easy solutions in the migration and refugee context. Technologies that rely on identity data introduce a new sociotechnical layer that may exacerbate existing biases, discrimination, or power imbalances.How can we weigh the added value of digital identification systems against the potential risks and harms to migrant safety and fundamental human rights? This report provides international organizations, policymakers, civil society, technologists, and funders with a deeper background on what we currently know about digital identity and how migrant identity data is situated in the Italian context. "
"Simply layering technology on top of existing humanitarian problems tends to exacerbate the issues it intended to resolve. In a new report on the role of digital identity in refugee and migrant contexts, a team of researchers at the Data & Society Research Institute, led by Mark Latonero, detail the various ways these initiatives can reproduce and worsen existing bureaucratic biases."
Over the past months, momentous developments point to a more intense engagement with the needs and rights of refugee and other migration-affected children than has previously been evident. As with #Me too, many of the most central claims – the pervasive presence of abuse, the scale of the problem, the striking power imbalances that have perpetuated the problem’s relative invisibility – are not new or surprising per se. It is the avalanche of evidence, the mobilization of affected constituencies, and the sobering realization of the extent and consequences of previous denial that are disquieting.
Can We Solve The Migration Crisis? by Jacqueline Bhabha
Every minute 24 people are forced to leave their homes and over 65 million are currently displaced world-wide. Small wonder that tackling the refugee and migration crisis has become a global political priority.
But can this crisis be resolved and if so, how? In this compelling essay, renowned human rights lawyer and scholar Jacqueline Bhabha explains why forced migration demands compassion, generosity and a more vigorous acknowledgement of our shared dependence on human mobility as a key element of global collaboration. Unless we develop humane 'win-win' strategies for tackling the inequalities and conflicts driving migration and for addressing the fears fuelling xenophobia, she argues, both innocent lives and cardinal human rights principles will be squandered in the service of futile nationalism and oppressive border control.
Today we stand at a precipice. A critical fight for fundamental human rights is brewing, and our work to find policy solutions to the most pressing human rights issues has never been more urgent. These issues include economic justice; human security; equality and discrimination; and institutions of global governance and civil society. We leverage research, practice, leadership and communications and technology to enhance global justice and to address all four of these priority issues.
2016 saw a number of important victories for the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy, engaging our outstanding faculty members, fellows and students. We hosted a two-day symposium on the future of human rights and technology, convening a diverse group of practitioners working on these issues. And we organized a conference exploring the strategic costs and consequences of the use of torture.
2017 presents new challenges, but also new opportunities to engage and collaborate to ensure respect for our most fundamental rights and freedoms. We will continue to work tirelessly, as we have for the past 15 years, to enhance global justice – and we hope that you will join us in this critically important work.
According to the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report, “Few aspects of the human endeavor…are isolated from possible impacts in a changing climate. The interconnectedness of the Earth system makes it impossible to draw a confined boundary around climate change impact, adaptations, and vulnerability.”1 This includes human population displacements, which amounted to a staggering 51.2 million refugees, asylum-seekers, and internally displaced people (IDPs) in 2013.2
Unfortunately, as the frequency, duration, and intensity of extreme events affecting populations are on the rise, the humanitarian aid community is stretched thin in the face of multiple complex emergencies and protracted challenges around the world
"When I was growing in St. Cloud in the 1960s and 1970s, I was already dimly aware that we were an immigrant community.
In particular, I knew the parents and grandparents of many of my schoolmates had come from Germany because I was always in the homeroom full of the kids with German last names — the Schmidts, Schneiders, and Schwartzs. A number of these students came from poor farms outside town. They had to be up very early in the morning before school to help on the farm, before the long bus trip to school, and they came to homeroom, the first class of the day, smelling like the barn.
If I could, I would apologize to those students today for my cruel remarks behind their backs; I, who had the luxury of spending too long every morning in the bathroom getting ready for school (according to my older brother).
Many of the immigrant families in St. Cloud were Catholic, not only from Germany, but from Poland and Ireland. To this day, Census figures show that well over half of the individuals in the St. Cloud metropolitan area trace their ancestry to those three countries."
"With Russian and Syrian forces loyal to Bashar al-Assad’s regime rapidly closing in, the situation for those trapped in eastern Aleppo in the first week of December was growing grimmer by the hour. It was especially dire for the White Helmets, a Syrian first-responders group that had won international acclaim for its humanitarian work, including a nomination for the Nobel Peace Prize. The Assad regime held a different view, describing the group as rebels and terrorists.
On Dec. 8 at 3:30 p.m. in Boston, one of the first messages from the White Helmets to reach researchers at Harvard University’s Carr Center for Human Rights Policy and the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative said that “three gas bombs have been dropped in the area within the last two hours and they [the White Helmets] feel they have less than 48 hours to evacuate before they are seized.” The Harvard group was asked to help find an escape route out of Aleppo for the White Helmets and their families, about 150 people in all.
How could Harvard scholars sitting in Cambridge, Mass., help 150 people find their way out of a war zone? We hoped it could be done with commercial remote-sensing satellites."
Steven Livingston is a senior fellow at the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy and a professor at George Washington University.
Jonathan Drake is a senior program associate with the Geospatial Technologies Project at the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
US needs to help the EU end the refugee crisis an op/ed by John Shattuck:
The refugee crisis is at the center of Europe’s political war. Some European countries are building walls to exclude people seeking refuge from the deadly conflicts in the Middle East, while others — notably Greece, Germany, and the Nordics — are working to reinforce EU values of openness and tolerance. The United States should do more to promote these values by increasing its support for relief efforts and opening its doors to refugees from the Middle East. European governments this year are contributing four times more money than the United States to the financially strapped United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. Meanwhile, the United States will resettle a minuscule 10,000 Syrian refugees, compared with more than 500,000 in Germany.