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Deep dive into Rights Digitalisation

In this futures deep dive, we explored both opportunities and risks for accessing and enjoying rights through digitalisation building on this chapter on rights and digitalisation.  


You can access the Miro board for detailed content here

”How can we think about rights from the onset of digital design rather than being reactionary?’ 

“How can we find common ground with people outside of the humanitarian sector and have the same understanding of digital risks of forcibly displaced people?"

“What language is appropriate for talking about rights in the context of digitalisation?” 

Desirable future 

The desirable future of Rights and Digitalisation we co-created in this deep dive, is a future in which: 

  • Access is a public utility such as water and electricity. 

  • There is a right to freedom of reach, not “just” speech. 

  • A user has full ownership, control & access of their own data. Forcibly displaced persons have the ability and right to be de-identified. Trust is built horizontally, data is used for the purpose it is intended to, users can opt-out and see what data is used for through interfaces. Blockchain might be the tool that allows for trust and transparency.  

  • Forcibly displaced have access to digital platforms and can access services through digital means. 

  • The market is nudged into ethical business activities. 

  • Champions connect movements across digital and non-digital spaces and are amplified by digital leading to inclusion and respect for rights. 

  • Engagement by humanitarian actors in shaping public opinion is a strategy deployed to pave the way for peaceful coexistence and realisation of durable solutions. 

  • There is no hate speech as any hate speech on social media is countered and not allowed to exist without being challenged. This has meant that major SoMe platforms adopt anti-hate speech policies and actively monitor in their spaces. 

Bridging tomorrow and today

For the desirable future of Rights and Digitalisation to be realised, we need: 

  • Develop shared design processes with end users where they participate in the creation and monitoring of digital tools affecting their lives. We need to change how we facilitate participation, and its power dynamics. 

  • More attention to earning / gaining trust of forcibly displaced persons around use of digital tools 

  • more demand driven (by FDPs) rather than supply driven digitalisation 

  • Change how we interact with 3rd party providers of digital solutions - mainstream accountability principles 

  • Accountability to data subjects as rights holders despite power imbalance between data managers and data  subjects 

  • End the obsession with 'digital fixes' to complex issues and adopt a more holistic approach focused both on benefits and risks 

  • Human rights mainstreaming (in sectors which are not familiar with human rights concepts) 

  • Change interactions with governments and authorities. We ought to participate in the agenda on digital governance to a greater degree. We need shared normative framework cutting across distinct spheres (humanitarian, private sector, states, etc) 

Identifying avenues for change: What can we do today? What can we do together? 

To earn and gain trust of forcibly displaced persons around use of digital tools, we need to: 

  • Start with needs, ensure participation of users in the design process and creation of digital solutions and change.  

  • Communicate in an accessible language. 

  • Create hackathons with forcibly displaced so that they can create digital tools themselves. 

  • End-user should be able to see change and allowed to go into back-end and make changes themselves. 

  • Change funding structures. 

To change how we interact with 3rd party providers of digital solutions, we need to:  

  • Have humanitarian digital packages separated from governmental ones. This could include a humanitarian smartphone, including internet access. 

  • have open discussions about if/what products need to be monetized to be available to forcibly displaced. 

  • Explore if there should be two target groups: one with a free version and another paid? 

  • Explore whether we offer sustainable packages/digital solutions to beneficiaries that continue beyond their current situation. 

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