It’s 2016, and in the age of interconnectivity and mobile phones, refugees should not be relying on sending out an S.O.S. via – “Message in a Bottle” as in the 1979 Police hit. But the fact remains that we now have the largest refugee crisis since World War II with 65 million people forcibly displaced.
The refugee population is left behind … and not only on distant shores. By 2020, it is projected that there will be a global online population of 5 billion. However, 50 percent are less likely to have internet enabled phones and are 2.5 times more likely not to even have a phone.
A new UN report “ Connected Refugees: How the Internet and Mobile Connectivity Can Improve Refugee Well-being and Transform Humanitarian Action,” was published by the High Commissioner’s Office (UNHCR) and Accenture, a global professional services company. Interconnectivity is an essential lifeline to connecting/reuniting refugees with family, providing information on available services and providing security (against man-produced and environmental life threats,) and empowering refugees with online education.
Investments are needed in strategic areas “ranging from partnering with mobile network operators and other technology and communications companies to improve infrastructure, making targeted investments in infrastructure, and enabling an environment and system for digital service delivery.” For more information and an outstanding video presentation, “UNHCR: Connectivity for Refugees,” read: “Refugees See Mobile Connectivity as Critical Lifeline – new UN Report.”
#ConnectRefugees has sent an S.O.S. and awaits a #GlobalCitizen lifeline.
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By, Susan Sacirbey – #DiplomaticallyX