Policy Recommendations for ensuring Children's Rights in times of crisis
In regard of the impact the Covid19 pandemic has on online risks and threats to children and on the realization of their rights the following policy recommendations were phrased:
Protection of children from sexual abuse and exploitation need to be reinforced in answer to the pandemic. Measures suggested comprise:
- A joint approach in national legislation based on international legal instruments e.g. Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) - Budapest Convention - Lanzarote Convention
- Increased resources for law enforcement
- Raising awareness for perpetrators’ strategies in times of lockdown when children’s screen time is increased
- Utilization of the potential of technology / Design of platforms and applications based on the principle of safety by design
In order to respect, protect and fulfil the rights of the child also in times of crisis it is necessary to broaden the perspective beyond the right to be protected.
The closing of schools has a huge impact on children’s right to education. The digital divide became more obvious in times of home schooling.
Civil rights of children such as the right to freedom of expression, access to information, the right to assembly and association, the right to be heard and the right to privacy are immensely affected in times of the pandemic.
Measures suggested comprise:
- Support for families in regard of infrastructure, devices and media literacy training.
- Awareness raising for children’s right to privacy also in their social environment and family.
- Declare internet access as a universal right based on UN-CRC Art. 2 – Non-discrimination and Art. 17 – Access to information
As overarching desiderata were stated:
- Increased research on the impact of the crisis on children’s rights also in regard of digitization
- Consideration of children’s needs in civil contingency plans
- Child protection and children’s Rights as an issue to be addressed by Internet Governance
Dear Jutta, thank you! I would like to underline or to add to these recommendations the necessity to take into account for governments, business and civil society organizations the double vulnerability of children with disabilities during the impact the Covid19 pandemic. On the one hand, during restriction measures they can't receive offline professional services they are needed, on the other - not all digital services and tools are accessible for children with different types of disabilities.
Thanks Olena, for your very important comment. I suggest to refer to Art. 23 of the UN-CRC in this regard. We will leave the debate open a while and then consolidate all comments into a final version of the recommendations.
Thank you for the draft recommendations. I have a few suggestions:
1) In addition to ‘Raising awareness for perpetrators’ strategies in times of lockdown’, it is necessary to develop and promote effective deterrence and support mechanisms for people with sexual attraction to children (prevention of offending) as well as those who perpetrate sexual offenses against children (intervention). Mechanisms can be technical or human in nature, or both combined.
2) In addition to, or to expand upon ‘increased research’, I think it is important to specify the need for structured data collection frameworks as the basis for research and the development of indicators etc. Privacy must remain paramount.