This week Child Rights Connect, members and partners made a joint focused submission to the draft General Comment of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC) “Children’s rights in relation to the digital environment” focusing on how Child Human Rights Defenders (CHRDs) use and engage with the digital environment.
Children are active users of the digital environment, many times even teaching adults, for example their parents and caregivers how to use the different technologies. While many children use the digital environment to get/share information and socialise, CHRDs are using it to learn about their human rights, to meet and collaborate with others to promote their human rights and the rights of others as well as to effect change locally and globally. The digital environment provides them with both additional opportunities and challenges that are distinctive to these children. In this sense, our submission to the CRC was specially oriented to give visibility to the difficulties and barriers that CHRD might face while promoting and defending human rights in the digital environment, as well to provide guidance on at what concrete measures can be taken to empower them in the exercise of their rights.
Recommendations informed by children from all over the world
The submission was directly informed by the views and recommendations of more than 35 children, aged 13 to 18 years old, from 15 countries in all regions of the world, who use the digital environment to act as human rights defenders. The views were collected as part of a study exploring in-depth the issues raised by CHRDs specifically related to the digital environment as part of the global consultation for the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child’s Day of General Discussion in 2018 .
According to the children, to recognise, empower and protect CHRD in the digital environment it was important to:
- Address the negative experiences of CHRDs caused by people, companies and legislations;
- Recognize children’s active engagement with the digital environment and this space as an enabler of communication and collaboration among CHRDs;
- Take advantage of the digital environment as an effective platform to disseminate the work of CHRDs, and
- Promote greater support from adults to secure full participation of children.
You can read the submission here
Members and partners of the joint submission
The submission was made together with:
- the Centre for Children’s Rights at Queen’s University Belfast;
- the School of Education of University College Dublin;
- and Child Rights Connect members the Aliance za dětská práva (Alliance for the Rights of the Child- Czech Republic), Child Rights Information Centre Moldova and the Women’s World Summit Foundation (WWSF);
as well as welcome support from partner organisation BRIS: Children’s Right in Society-Sweden.