Migrant Youtubers

 

They have created new ways to express themselves, have fun, relate to others, and even new ways of living. Some of them publish videos on a monthly or weekly basis, but the most active ones, publish videos almost every day. The list of issues they talk about is huge, from fashion to videogames, they achieve to capture the attention of their hundreds to even thousands and millions of followers. I am talking about Youtubers, people who have innovated the forms of information and entertainment, especially for young people.

Many Youtubers have become very popular and received recognition in their cities, countries or at a global level. This has led to many communication and media experts criticizing the concept of fame over the last few years. Most Youtubers used to be ordinary people, who one day just decided to record themselves and post videos about their daily lives or their personal opinions on the internet. Using this channel, they gained the same or even greater influence on their perspective audiences as traditional famous artists.

The relationship between Youtubers and their subscribers is quite remarkable! According to a study by Google, 4 in 10 Millennial subscribers say their favorite Youtuber understands them better than their friends. 70% of teenage YouTube subscribers say they relate to YouTube creators more than traditional celebrities. This close relationship gives YouTube content creators the opportunity to influence the lives of young people. The same study indicates that 70% of Millennials believe that YouTube creators influence and shape culture. 

The contributions of Youtubers to migration:

The Youtuber phenomenon has one particularly interesting characteristic: most of them are migrants! For many of these Youtubers, talking about their experience in their host country has become a popular topic for their videos. They talk about cultural differences and similarities, new traditions they learn about, their general experiences as migrants.

They confirm that migrants are not only strong, resilient, compassionate and dedicated, but also creative. Hundreds of Youtubers tell their stories on how they arrived in their host country through creative videos. These clips show their best side, the best of their culture and the ties they create with the people who welcomed them with open arms. Their videos indirectly inspire the fight against xenophobia and discrimination.

Alejandro Velasco is one example of those migrant YouTube influencers. He is from Mexico and he went to Chile to pursue his Master’s Degree in 2012. Through his “Un Wey Weón” project he has created a series of short videos on his experience as a Mexican living in Chile. These clips have gone viral and they have been broadly relayed through the main Chilean media channels.

His YouTube channel has more than 15.000 followers and his Facebook account has over 80.000 followers. Alejandro highlights all the linguistic and cultural differences between Mexico and Chile. His videos have helped to bring Chilean people closer to the Mexican culture and vice versa.  

#IamaMigrant Challenge

Just like Alejandro, there are plenty of other migrant Youtubers who are playing a key role in combatting xenophobia and discrimination against migrants. The impact they have on young people is what makes their videos profoundly valuable in building more inclusive societies. Fully aware of this opportunity, the IOM Regional Office for Central America, North America and the Caribbean launched a campaign for migrant Youtubers. 

The #IamaMigrant campaign is intending to combat negative discourse against migrants through the creativity of migrant YouTube influencers, who are digital ambassadors of their countries of origin. To participate in the campaign, Youtubers have to create a video in which they tell us about their migration experience based on three objects. This is expected to increase sensitization and empathy for other migrants living in the perspective of host countries.

Erika Sinning, a Venezuelan citizen currently living in Canada, was one of the first Youtubers to join the campaign and she told her experience as a migrant based on a pair of shoes and her cellphone. In her video, Erika tells us:

“Migration is like a second chance at life, because you migrate to improve your life, but also to make progress and evolve as a person”

Alejandro Velasco, “Un Wey Weón”, shared his experience by using a Mexican hat, a picture of his family and all the bags of dried hibiscus flower he was able to bring from Mexico. So far, his I am Migrant campaign video has already reached more than 23.000 views on YouTube.

We hope that many other YouTube influencers will join this campaign and continue to foster a positive message about migrants. For further information on the #IamaMigrant Challenge click here.

 

 

 

  About the author:

Jean Pierre Mora Casasola  is a communicator in IOM Regional Office for Central America, North America and the Caribbean. He has served as a consultant in different social organizations and in the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB). He holds a Degree in Advertising from the University “Latinoamericana de Ciencia y Tecnología” (ULACIT), and he is currently getting a Bachelor’s Degree in International Relations at the same university.  Twitter: @jeanpierremora 

 

 


Internal displacement, extractive transnational corporations and the protection of rights of affected communities

Internal displacement, extractive transnational corporations and the protection of rights of affected communities
Categoria: Environmental Migration
Autor: Guest Contributor

 

The export of raw materials, hydrocarbons, and minerals occupy a prominent place in Latin America’s economic model. However, due to the extraction characteristics of some of these resources, environmental conflicts appear in several places around the continent (see details here). According to the UNDP, migration and displacement appear as a result of conflicts due to the activity of extractive industries. In the words of said organization:

"For many developing countries, mineral extraction continues to be an important economic engine with the potential to improve the results of human development, in line with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). When properly managed, mining can create jobs, foster innovation and bring investment and infrastructure to a scale that changes the game in the long term. However, if handled badly, mining can also lead to environmental degradation, displaced populations and an increase in inequality. " (Read more here)

In 1998, the United Nations established the guiding principles of internal displacement to address the protection needs of internally displaced persons. These principles include, among others, the prohibition of arbitrary displacement "in cases of large-scale development projects, which are not justified by a superior or primordial public interest". Although the IACHR has gathered information on the relationship between extractive interests and the displacement of persons, by 2016, in Latin America, only Mexico, Colombia and Peru had adopted laws on internal displacement, and only Guatemala had adopted policies on internal displacement. (see map).

In October 2018, however, a new tool relevant to the discussion appeared, with the release of the first draft of the legally binding international instrument on transnational corporations and other companies with respect to human rights, developed by a working group of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), and described in resolution 26/9.

This tool is important because it refers specifically to internally displaced persons and migrants - without excluding their involvement in other parts of the text - as groups that must be given special attention in consultations (Article 9, point g.) and on the impact of the projects (article 15, point 5 of the implementation). This is significant given that one of the great consequences of the extractive transnationals is the displacement of people due to the repercussions on their economic, social and cultural rights (ESCR), established in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Due to their political, social and environmental characteristics, Mexico and Central America have historically represented geostrategic value for the extraction of multiple natural resources. Mining for obtaining different materials, hydroelectric production and extensive agricultural crops (pineapple and palm, for example, the latter representing an important agrofuel) are some of the main industries related to environmental conflicts, causing potential displacement phenomena in the region. 

In this context, it’s important to ask what the displaced people of these territories can do to defend their rights. From the OHCHR draft, four relevant elements can be emphasized for the protection of people’s rights in displacement situations due to the involvement of transnational corporations in their environment:

· Address the legal process without economic cost, since there is a consensus on the need to address the lack of resources of affected communities that request the protection of their rights. Civil society campaigns recommend that once there are sufficient indications that a person is a victim of a human rights violation, the costs of the process to that person are exempted and he or she is not obliged to indemnify the corporate counterpart in case of acquittal. The economic support by the States towards the victims when carrying out legal proceedings of this nature is contemplated in the draft of the OHCHR (Article 8, point 6).

· Creating group processes is necessary, since the legal processes of protection of rights benefit from a collective approach when dealing with the issue of displacement, due to the characteristics of the impact of extractive industries in the communities. This way, it is possible to avoid opening several cases that can become discordant, reduce costs for the State and pool the victims’ resources. The draft accepts and includes the rights of victims both individually and in groups (article 6, point 1, article 8, points 1 and 2, article 12).

· Procure due diligence in the processes, allowing the displaced victims access to the necessary documentation with the cooperation of all parties. At the end of a process, if a displaced person victim of transnationals wins the case, it’s important that the reparation (economic, moral or otherwise) is given within a reasonable time. The impact of both the dispossession of land and the legal process affects several aspects of the victim’s daily life (food, family and community relations, economic activity, physical and mental health) so restoring their original conditions must be a priority for effective justice. OHCHR’s draft refers to cooperation as a function of the national implementation mechanisms of the binding instrument; for example, when responding to inquiries from victims, companies and the general public, or when sending recommendations to improve the implementation of the binding instrument itself (article 3, point 2, detail a. and b.)

· Find an integral solution to the problem, because even when processes are carried out collaboratively (previous point), these are usually long, which may cause the victim to consider agreements that are not integral solutions to their problem in order to resolve it in less time. This type of outcome can also be seen by the company as a simpler way to access land while improving their public reputation, which constitutes a serious antecedent when evaluating the impact of extractive companies, which is minimized. According to OHCHR’s draft, the victims have the right to "a) Restitution, compensation, rehabilitation, satisfaction and guarantees of non-repetition for victims; b) Environmental remediation and ecological restoration when appropriate, including coverage of expenses for relocation of victims, and replacement of community facilities."