"A call for an empowering, inclusive and safe digital environment for children" - Side Event 28th session Human Rights Council Monday, 9 March 12.00-2.30 Palais des Nations, Geneva

Geneva 9 March 2015 - Jointly organised by the SRSG on violence against children and the UN Special Rapporteur on the sale of children, child pornography and child prostitution, the event explored children’s engagement with ICTs and the opportunities and risks that this represents for children’s rights. Sponsored by the Permanent Missions of Costa Rica and the United Kingdom, the event focused on ICTs and violence against children, in particular on-line sexual exploitation.

“Both offline and online, States have a leading responsibility in guaranteeing Children’s freedom from online violence and abuse. Securing their right to information, an effective remedy, recovery and reintegration are crucial dimensions of States’ accountability,” said SRSG Santos Pais.

SRSG Santos Pais highlighted the importance of the adoption of a comprehensive and well-resourced policy global agenda to prevent and address violence against children in the cyberspace.

“We need a multifaceted, safe, inclusive and empowering digital agenda that releases children’s potential and effectively detects and addresses abuse. An agenda that ensures the optimal balance between preserving children’s natural curiosity, creativity, sense of innovation and freedom to explore and learn online with their effective protection from harm. Solutions must not be driven by fear or censorship” said SRSG Santos Pais.

The UN Special Rapporteur on the sale of children, child pornography and child prostitution, Maud de Boer-Buquicchio, joined the SRSG call stressing that the world faces a new global threat in the digital world. “New technologies have revolutionized way child abuse material is created and traded. Their constant evolution creates important challenges to investigation and prosecution of crimes” added Ms. Boer-Buquicchio.