In proposing this workshop we refer to the paragraph 13 of the Geneva Declaration of principles: “…we shall pay particular attention to the special needs of marginalized and vulnerable groups of society…”. Paragraph 90 (n) of the Tunis Agenda on the Information Society reinforces this statement.
We subscribe to the general theme of the IGF 2011 “Internet as a catalyst of change” and would like to initiate a discussion on how Internet governance and innovative approaches in this field could make the Internet more inclusive and participatory taking into account the needs of socially excluded groups and in particular include into the Building process of Information Society opinions and Initiatives of the people with migrant background.
The present workshop proposal is the result of the conclusions of the workshop n°109 that was held during the IGF 2010. One of the conclusion points’ was to continue discussions concerning the use of ICT by people with migrant background but also to propose concrete actions in cooperation with different actors.
The Internet could be a catalyst for change; it is also a perfect tool that allows people with a migrant background to learn more about their citizenship and the citizenship of residence. These people represent a fragile group due to their particular vulnerability. Using ICTs and the Internet they can then more easily participate in public life at different levels. Internet can grant them the possibility and the motivation to fully discover and enjoy their rights of citizens. Accordingly the Internet can be a catalyst for change that will include and motivate active citizenship and the participation of all in the Building Process of Information Society.
The purpose of this workshop is to share the best of worldwide existing models of ICT by vulnerable people (people with migrant background and those socially excluded) for a better integration into the Building Process of Information Society and more participation in public life. We would also discuss and emphasize the experience we have gained during the implementation of the presented projects and models. We would like to present Initiatives instigated by different actors, i.e. private sector, public sector, civil society, local authorities and politicians for different categories of vulnerable people (youth, elderly people, active citizens, unemployed, and victims of trafficking).
We also wish to share experiences on how the use of Internet can assist people with a migrant background and help them cope with a number of difficulties (literacy, digital divide, Internet access in a number of areas), the dangers and risks (different types of exploitation, online risks and safe Internet, information on their rights and responsibilities, access to information on legal and administrative aspects) in order to fully enjoy their Human Rights and be an integrated part of the public life.
The question of inclusive Internet and of the participation of people with a migrant background and those socially excluded in the global Information society is more and more crucial, due to the recent events worldwide and various political changes.
The objective is also to launch the discussion as to which steps to undertake next and to try to answer the following questions:
-Should we carry on sharing and exchanging this type of experience in future?
-How best take into account national or regional priorities?
-What should our next step be in order to solve the question on how to include into the Building Process of Information Society this type of population worldwide and not only in a number of regions?
-What are the specific issues and questions regarding this type of population and its participation in public life?
-What can be done for fragile people with a migrant background in order to motivate active citizenship of this target group?
A successful and fruitful discussion was developed during the WS 126.
The workshop opened with a welcome message and the strong support from Mr Henri Malosse, the president of Employers Group of the EESC.
- The discussion focused on different categories of vulnerable people, existing problems and concerns, as well as the ICT solutions and initiatives developed all over the world (from Fiji to UK/France going through Nigeria, Ethiopia, Kenya and other countries). The discussion concerned different groups of vulnerable people (abused children and women, people with social problems and low income, people from regions with transport infrastructure problems and affected (more often than other regions) by natural disasters, victims of ethnic conflicts and those leaving in refugee camps, blind people, migrants and people with migrant background).
- It was concluded that in different countries and regions different aspects could contribute to vulnerability of different categories of people. The reasons for vulnerability vary due to national and regional factors.
- The participants agreed that ICT and the Internet (we all reached the same conclusion intuitively that Internet access is a right) can help different categories of vulnerable people to become an integrated part of society and public life and contribute to their well-being. That is why there is a need for further and active development of ICT solutions as a mean/tool of assistance for all categories of vulnerable people (the success of the presented existing Initiatives testifies to their usefulness).
- The workshop emphasized the necessity to develop measures for effective legal assistance for all categories of vulnerable people offline and online. Taking into consideration a number of cases when vulnerable people are involuntarily involved into criminal schemes and in criminal or illegal activities on the Internet, it was decided on the need to pay particular attention to this situation.
- Also, the participants discussed the issue of access to the infrastructure, as well as ICT equipment and the Internet connection, which, as it was underlined by Mr Frank La Rue, still remains an important problem in many countries.
Conclusions and further comments:
1. To continue the awareness raising activities of local, national and international communities concerning further implementation of ICTs solutions and initiatives aimed to create possibilities for all categories of vulnerable people to be an integrated part of public life.
2. To increase the interest in the subject of ICTs for better assistance for vulnerable people among all stakeholders and within the IGF communities. Continue the discussions and development of concrete solutions to the above-mentioned issues.
3. To stimulate discussions and consultations concerning the need for development of legal solutions/possible legal framework for better assistance and legal protection of vulnerable people. To develop capacity building Initiatives.
4. As the first step in implementing the agreed solutions, the development of a global network was proposed.A mailing list was created in order to share existing concerns, suggestions and initiatives all over the world.
All interested parties are invited to join the list by sending an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Stakeholders working with migrants are invited to join the eSPRINT Initiative and make their suggestions. For this please visit: www.e-sprint.eu