Increased measures to protect vulnerable children online welcomed by the IWF

Published:  Thu 21 Nov 2019

Increased measures to protect vulnerable children online have been welcomed by the IWF as MEPs hear more must be done to protect “vulnerable children”. 

Speaking during a high-level conference at the European Parliament on child rights on November 20 to mark the 30th Anniversary of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, Vera Jourova, European Commissioner for Justice, said a new European Commission will begin on December 1.

She said there would be an increased focus on “enforcing” children’s rights, including measures to help protect them online.

Addressing the conference, Ms Jourova said: “The incoming Commission intends to adopt a comprehensive strategy on the rights of the child.

“This should include measures to protect vulnerable children, protect their rights online, foster child friendly justice, and prevent and tackle violence.”

She added: “We have to be aware that the digital revolution offered a lot of opportunities, especially for the younger generation, but they also pose new challenges when it comes to application and enforcement of rights.

“Let’s bear in mind the rules were drafted when the internet and new technologies were not at all part of children’s lives.

“Today, not only they are part of their lives, they are often a dominant everyday presence.”

Susie Hargreaves OBE, IWF CEO, a UK based charity which works to remove online child sexual abuse material, welcomed the calls to protect children’s rights online.

Ms Hargreaves said: “Adopting a comprehensive strategy on the rights of the child has to be welcomed, especially online where so much has changed.

“Children’s safety must be fundamental to how international issues are approached and should be at the forefront when making any kind of decision.

“The internet has changed everything and has made child sexual abuse a global problem.

“We are doing everything we can to have a global response to eradicating online child sexual abuse material, and so it is good to hear more will be done to crack down on abuses against the rights of the child.”

Queen Mathilde of Belgium said: “Given that they are so vulnerable, children need to be protected against the effects of poverty and conflict and against all forms of abuse, exploitation or violence.”

UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador David Bisbal called for the rights of children to be put at the centre of all decisions taken.

Maite Pagazaurtundua MEP said it is a relatively young treaty but a very important one.

She said: “All children deserve and need protection.”

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