One of the key elements of our Sustainability Project announced earlier this year was to create a featured problem set for each RHoK event going forward that provides a series of highly curated, well-defined problems that have clear sponsors and clear paths to sustained impact. We are excited to begin introducing the featured problem set for RHoK June 2012. We will be announcing many of the featured problems through a series of blog posts here on RHoK.org, but you can always keep on top of the latest additions at our Featured Problem Set Page.
Each of the featured problems will have subject matter experts present at one or more RHoK events in June, but participation is not limited to those events. Coordination of work across different events will take place on the respective Pirate Pad and IRC channel for each problem. Those links will be present on the featured problem set page as well as the individual problem definitions.
Today we are introducing a series of human rights related problems surrounding immigration issues across the US-Mexico border and the Mediterranean Sea. These problem are sponsored by Amnesty International, the National Council of La Raza, the filmmakers of Who is Dayani Cristal?, and more.
Invisible Victims: Migrants Crossing Mexico into The United States
- Aggregate and visualize data for advocacy: How can we make invisible crimes visible without putting migrants at risk? Data collection is vital in order to have a full and comprehensive analysis of the factors that contribute to deaths and abuses across Mexico and along the US border. The lack of such data is a serious barrier to determining the steps that need to be taken to mitigate the prevalence of migrant deaths along the border. Examples of this data include: abuses by smugglers, sexual violence, police and state abuse, and more.
Some example projects include (see the problem definition for more):
- Create a simple, accessible digital system to provide a means for the networks of civil society organizations and shelters on the ground who could/can/are collecting and capturing data to aggregate and share this information?
- Could we facilitate a form of ‘check in’, which migrants can do from specific safe points on their journey? (it is important to remember that most migrants will not be carrying any form of technology on their person)
- Relative/family support and missing persons: Families experience what psychologists term ‘Ambiguous Loss’, which means that the status of a loved one is in question – unresolved. The grief process cannot start because the person is neither dead nor alive. Families often report debilitating fear and an inability to focus on daily tasks. At any point in their ‘normal’ day, their loved one could be suffering somewhere without help. The search often becomes all-consuming. And without an organized system for searching, families are left to do it alone.
Relatives and families are a key audience and are also more likely to have access to the web. How can we use existing social networks to connect up families with lost members on migrant crossings? How could we create a high security database that loved ones of migrants could access in order to be sure their family member is safe, or to track back to where they were last seen? Could we develop a lo-fi, social web based missing and unidentified person system to provide more reliable information to families whose loved ones disappear? Could we create a platform that supports knowledge transfer, allowing for posting missing members, sightings, news and locations?
- Information provision and distribution for migrants: Many people know they are risking their lives; they cross because of desperation and more information on risks would be unlikely to make a difference. On the other hand, there may be some people crossing for the first time and for whom it may be hard to conceive of the reality of the journey. Many others are deliberately misled by smugglers/traffickers who give false information about the risks i.e. that it is just a day’s walk, etc.
Could we create a platform that communicates risks to migrants through information and visibility, better planning information - where are the shelters, telephone numbers, water and food points? Could we make it accessible for them to find out information on their rights in specific states and regions e.g access to justice, support networks etc.
- Collaboration with Border Technologies: A lot of advanced technology hardware is available at the borders (‘smart’ border technologies, satellites, databases of digital fingerprints etc. Could this be used to the benefit of migrants, and not only to keep people out?
Data Visualization on Hispanic Migration:
Shifting Perceptions on Labor Demand and Migrants' Rights
- A portrayal of labor demands in the US over time
- The reasons behind people crossing the border
- The contribution of migrant workers on the labor landscape and their function in the economy.