Lagos, April 25, 2019 Experts at the 7th Digital Rights Inclusion Forum 2019 (DRIF19) has urged policymakers to enact legislations that provide and protect the digital rights of the refugees in their countries.
3 The experts on a panel discussing “Refugee Digital Rights” at the forum said it would enable civil societies, Non Governmental Organisation (NGOs) and others to synergies and provide Internet for refugees.
4 Mr Remmy Nweke, Vice-President, Africa Civil Society in the Information Society (ACSIS), said that refugees digital rights in Africa was a reccurring issue due to leadership tussles.
5 He said that refugees were entitled to their digital rights in line with human rights, adding that all digital rights were basically human rights in this Internet and digital rights era.
6 Nweke said that for refugees, internet connectivity should not be a luxury but a right.
7 According to him, civil societies and NGOs should support the movement that people should be connected, especially the refugees in this digital era.
8 “’There is need for collaboration of NGOs in the rural communities to close the gap, synergies and make progress in providing digital rights.
9 “Government should make it a priority to do the needful by ensuring that the technical infrastructure were available to enable connectivity.
10 “So, when they do that, free WiFi and connectivity will be provided for refugees through the collaboration of the NGOS and civil society.
12 Makwakwa said that broadband could be expensive but with the collaboration of the government and civil societies it could be affordable and accessible to host countries members and refugees.
13 Chris Udochukwu, Lecturer, University of Nigeria Nssuka (UNN), said that when people talk about the digital rights of refugees, they were faced with lots of disadvantages.
14 Udochukwu said that refugees suffer more in terms of livelihood and how to help them come on board should be the focus.
15 According to him, there are millions of people offline and the refugees inclusion and it is a known fact that Internet and Information Communication Technology provide lots of opportunity for people.
17 Ines Hfaiedh, Director, Educational Programsmes, Arab World Internet, said that digital literacy was very important and should be integrated into the refugees camps.
18 Hfaiedh said that Tunisia had over 3 million refugees that were from Libya during the evolution which was a lot.
19 According to her, it was necessary to get the refugees digitally included as they have formed a major part of the the country’s population that was estimated at 10 million.
20 She said that most times, the refugees were kept at the desert where there was no technical access and if there was no technical access how can there be digital right.
21 Hfaiedh said the government should provide technical access to refugees because their digital inclusiveness and rights could benefit the country in the future.
22 She said that it was because according to the United Nations statistics, 50 per cent of the jobs now would be replaced by technology.
23 Mr Peter Akinremi, West Africa Region Coordinator, Africa Civil Society in the Information Society (ACSIS), said that in Nigeria, over 1.7 million Internally Displaced Persons had no access to ICT how much more connectivity.
24 Akinremi said that there was need for the IDPs to be taught the basics of ICT before providing the needed connectivity.
25 He said it was necessary the refugees or IDPs as the case may be to be integrated into the labour market.
26 According to him, to achieve this, Internet digital right is very important.
28 NNN also reports that the forum is supported by Google, Ford Foundation and Heinrich Böll Stiftung.
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