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We are glad to inform you that after our pleasant experience with the Italian blog, the IIMA Human Rights Office has decided to open a new blog in English.

On this blog, you may follow our main activities with the United Nations and its mechanisms for the protection and promotion of human rights, as well as news from the UN bodies and IIMA offices in different countries related to the right to education.

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The Rights of the Child at the United Nations

Every year during the Human Rights Council at the United Nations in Geneva, a full day is reserved on the rights of the child. This day presents an opportunity for representatives from countries and NGOs to meet and compare various realities and international initiatives regarding children.

This year, on March 7th 2016, Mr. Benyam Dawit Mezmur (Chairperson of the Committee on the Right of the Child), Ms. Maud de Boer-Buquicchio (Special Rapporteur on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography) and Mr. Hernias Allen (Chairperson of the International Advisory Board of the United Kingdom) attended the early morning session.

Ms. Kate Gilmore (High United Nations Deputy Commissioner for Human Rights) introduced the debate reporting the situations to which children are exposed during online activities including the use of internet for the diffusion of pornographic material. The internet offers a great opportunity for people to connect socially and culturally, especially young people. Unfortunately in many cases, it’s submitted to a serious distortion: the younger the children are, the more vulnerable they are - both in the virtual and real world- and more serious is the abuse to which they are submitted.

It’s necessary to act in unison in order to minimize the risks that the internet offers while at the same time acknowledging its positive use as a source of knowledge and global information.

In order to sift through the sea of data and material, in an effort to provide help and a "cure" to the negative outcome of internet, some guidelines have been set in conformity with the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

We must not forget, as it has been highlighted during the meeting held on March 8th by the report of Mr Marta Santos Pais (Special Rapporteur on violence against children), that children are subjected through the internet, not only to violence and pornography from adults, but also to cyber-bullying: an abuse that doesn't conclude with the physical action of bullying perpetrated by a person or a group of the same age, but that continues because the debasing material is made available online for others to see, permanently undermining the self-esteem and reputation of the child.

Many States do not yet offer specific legislation to protect children from different manifestations of violence, but merely condemn sexual abuse and the diffusion of online material in general. To allow effective multilateral, regional and national action we need to share information on the international level, relying on extraterritorial judicial collaboration that simultaneously involves the authorities of the various countries involved in the diffusion of online material.

At the same time we need to create a network of protection for children beginning with  scholastic education, that provides the tools for becoming “online citizens” responsible and conscious of the risks and their rights.

As Ms. Marta Santos Pais highlighted in her report about the violence that children still suffer worldwide, the abuse is multifaceted.

The reports by the Special Rapporteurs highlighted the serious violences that children are still submitted to in every day life: from the inhuman and degrading treatments within the family and school spheres, child trade and sexual exploitation, the market of child brides, up to their involvement in armed conflicts.

During this meeting IIMA e VIDES International noted - through an oral statement - that in some countries such as India, violence towards the younger begins even before their birth and mostly afflicts girls as they are subjected to selective abortion , forced sexchanges, or forced into marriages during their adolescence.

The path to achieving a general protection of children is still long, but it must come from the empowerment of youth and their families, through programs of scholastic education regarding human rights and through the protection and promotion by the States of the weaker minorities, including youth.

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