This is the second entry into the ‘Thoughts from the Gentleman’ series which will consist of analysis and editorial content of all things relating to politics and culture. The first entry can be seen here. Here we will discuss how blockchain technology combined with the global community can help fight poverty, help those displaced, and battle numerous other problems facing the world.
A Mounting Humanitarian Issue
On April 30, 1941, Otto Frank - the father of famed Anne Frank wrote the following while seeking visas for his family to flee to the United States to escape the Holocaust:
I am forced to look out for emigration and as far as I can see U.S.A. is the only country we could go to. Perhaps you remember that we have two girls. It is for the sake of the children mainly that we have to care for. Our own fate is of less importance, you are the only person I know that I can ask.
Professor Richard Breitman describes Otto Frank's situation in greater detail:
So Otto Frank turned to his old college friend Nathan Straus, Jr., requesting that he place $5,000 in a bank account as a pledge of support.9 Most of the documents uncovered by YIVO deal with diligent efforts by Mr. and Mrs. Straus and the National Refugee Service (which they contacted) to find out what kind of affidavits of support would be needed for the Franks to obtain American visas and where to send the information.
According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) estimate, there are currently over 65 million people forcibly displaced from their homes, with 22.5 million of those being under the classification of refugees. The conflict in Syria is responsible for over 5.5 million refugees, with over 12.5 million Syrian's being displaced as result.
The Rohingyas’ Plight
Former Noble Peace Prize winner and current State Counsellor of Myanmar Aung San Suu Kyi has undergone fierce criticism due to her denial of systematic abuse towards the Rohingya people. Amnesty International estimates that over 430,000 Rohingya Muslims have had to flee their homes since late October. This massive wave of displacement encapsulates three years of tensions which have resulted in the Myanmar government from denying their citizenship.
The Rohingya were never officially considered citizens after Myanmar gained independence from the British empire in 1948. However, they were given provisional recognition until 1962 when a military coup changed how they were treated - forcing the ethnic group to obtain foreign identity cards, limiting their civil rights in the country.
Citizenship laws in 1982 increased the subjection of the Rohingya people, leaving them stateless. Recent tensions began in October 2016, when after nine border troops were killed - leading to what a United Nations official warned - an attempted ethnic cleansing of the Rohingya.
Myanmar's response to this crisis critical to determining the success of its transition to a more democratic society. The key test of any new democracy is how it treats its most vulnerable and marginalized populations.
Solutions To Aid Refugees
Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) exist with the goal of helping displaced individuals and refugees from crisis centers around the world. Groups like Sunrise USA, Refugees International, Karam Foundation, UNHCR, and multiple others attempt to make the lives of those suffering, better. Organizations like the International Rescue Committee and Global Citizen also provide ways for those around the world to help displaced peoples.
The majorities no longer have possession of birth certificates, driver's licenses, or any proof of their education history. With the continued crisis' in Syria and the subjugation of the Rohingya - along with those from other countries, NGOs are being stretched thin.
Unique blockchain technology may help those displaced around the world to travel between countries. LaLa World is a leader in technology which helps those in need have the ability to access their identification, banking information, and an easy way to prove to officials that they are not participating in illegal activity due to the blockchain technology. Allowing at-risk individuals the ability to access and send vital financial resources across country boarders.
The blockchain technology used by LaLa World and similar companies can also help stop sex trafficking and child labor rings, due to the permanent digital registry at use. Further giving protection to migrants as they operate within the LaLa Ecosystem.
With reporting showing the plight of various displaced individuals, it has become clear that activists and well-meaning entrepreneurs need to use new technologies in order to aid the most vulnerable around the world.
Blockchain algorithms that LaLa World incorporates brings together governments, NGOs, and these individuals in a manner which helps build financial inclusion. Technological advances have made it possible for these organizations to send auditable money to those who need it the most in developing countries and crisis centers.
While it's unsure whether blockchain will be the dominant solution in humanitarian situations, it definitely presents an opportunity to give migrants biometric data storage with digital authentication - helping them in their struggle to find stability.
Any additional help to help those in need should be explored and used to its full extent.
To keep up with Walter’s journalism you can follow him @GentlemansHall on Twitter