Call for participation in the programme of the IGF 2022Pauline Richter, Stiftung Digitale Chancen
A call for active participation in the programme development of the Internet Governance Forum 2022 (IGF) has been issued again this year. The IGF is an annual global multi-stakeholder forum with the aim of creating a dialogue on internet governance. The deadline to submit session proposals has been extended until 10 June 2022 11:59pm. These can take place in a variety of formats, including workshops, open forums, lightning talks and networking sessions.
The 17th annual IGF meeting is hosted by the Government of Ethiopia in Addis Ababa under the overarching theme of "Resilient Internet for a Shared Sustainable and Common Future". This year, the IGF programme will be closely linked with the Global Digital Compact, as envisioned by the United Nations Secretary-General in his Our Common Agenda report. Five themes drawn directly from the focus areas of the proposed GDC will structure the IGF meeting:
- Connecting All People and Safeguarding Human Rights
- Avoiding Internet Fragmentation
- Governing Data and Protecting Privacy
- Enabling Safety, Security and Accountability
- Addressing Advanced Technologies, including AI
It is important for children’s rights to play a significant role in this year’s programme. Children's rights are human rights and must therefore be considered in the first thematic focus area. The Convention on the Rights of the Child and General Comment 25 can also provide important guidance on the topics of privacy as well as security and protection.
We are looking forward to the active involvement of the children's rights community in the programme design and the development of proposals, as was the case last year. When submitting workshop proposals, it is particularly important to ensure diversity of everyone involved in terms of regional origin, social groups, gender and age. Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to submit a proposal and need support in approaching international partner organisations or selecting speakers. We are also happy to help with the wording of the information to be provided in the submission form.
Further information can be found here.
Children’s Rights and the Digital Services Act
The Digital Opportunities Foundation is putting its mark under a joint Open Letter from the members of the National Coalition Germany - Network for the Implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child on the EU regulation "Digital Services Act" currently being discussed in the parliamentary procedure. The signatories recognise the ambitious goals of the European legislative project, but do not see the rights and protection of children and young people in the digital environment sufficiently guaranteed.For example, the EU regulation is clearly behind the regulations of the German Youth Protection Act, which was only modernised in 2021. Precautionary measures, as provided for in Article 24a of the Youth Protection Act for providers of digital services, should in future only be prescribed at European level for very large platforms with more than 45 million users. The signatories therefore call on the federal ministries involved in the European trialogue to include the rights of children to protection, empowerment and participation in the further negotiations on the EU regulation and thus to ensure that the priority of the best interests of the child according to Art. 3 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child is also safeguarded in the digital environment. You can download the English text of the open letter here.
Children's rights and democracy
"Fit for Democracy" is the theme of today's Safer Internet Day. Children have the right to take part in democracy, and the digital environment offers them opportunities to exercise their rights regardless of their age, their social status and the region where they are living. This is underlined in particular in Chapter VI. of General Comment No. 25 on the rights of children in the digital environment "Fundamental rights and freedoms".
Access to information is an essential prerequisite for participating in democratic decision-making processes. The digital environment offers unique opportunities for children to realise their right to access information. In this regard, information and communication media, including digital and online content, fulfil an important function. Therefore, States Parties to the United Nations are called upon by the Committee on the Rights of the Child to ensure that children have access to information in the digital environment. They should also ensure that children's right to freedom of expression in the digital environment is not restricted. This means that even measures that may be necessary to protect children, such as the use of filtering software, must be lawful, necessary and proportionate. Children should be able to make their political or other views and identities public in the digital environment without being exposed to unreasonable criticism, hostility, threats or even punishment; the States Parties should also create the conditions for this.
Fundamental rights also include freedom of thought, conscience and religion, which can be impaired in the digital environment by attempts to influence and manipulate. Media literacy and the ability to assess content are therefore important building blocks of "fitness for democracy".
The digital environment can enable children in a special way to form their political identity and to participate in social discussdiscussions. Children who participated in the drafting of the 25th General Comment say that the digital environment offers them welcome opportunities to meet, exchange and engage with peers, decision-makers and like-minded people. This is the basis for being part of a democratic society.
Fit for Democracy also means making these basic rights known to children in the digital environment, safeguarding them and making them a reality.