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Theses Master's

Bits of Life: Leveraging Emerging Technologies to Improve the Livelihoods of Refugees

Pakzad, Roya

This thesis examines the role of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) in improving the livelihoods and employment opportunities of refugees. The ongoing Syrian refugee crisis is considered not only as a humanitarian crisis, but through the lens of human rights. “Bits of Life” argues that improving the livelihoods of refugees is in accordance with refugees’ rights to work, based on the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights and the 1951 Refugee Convention. Furthermore, this thesis explores how access to reliable and affordable Internet serves as a crucial tool to help fulfill refugees’ efforts to obtain independent employment and economic security. Although access to the Internet has not yet been recognized as a basic human right, it plays a significant role in fulfilling refugees’ rights to freedom of expression and their rights to development. Issues surrounding the availability and utility of Internet access among refugees also raise important concerns regarding the right to privacy. By surveying existing technology-based humanitarian livelihood programs, notably Iraq Re:Coded, “Bits of Life” analyzes the successes and failures of existing initiatives and offers recommendations to improve the adaptability and effectiveness of future applications of ICTs in the field of refugees’ rights and livelihoods.

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More Information

Academic Units
Institute for the Study of Human Rights
Thesis Advisors
Perlmutter, Steven
Degree
M.A., Columbia University
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