Sharjah partakes inglobal efforts to fulfill children’s rights in the digital environment
TheSharjah Child Friendly Office facilitated a consultation session for 20 children for the
UN Committee on the Rights of the Child’s General Comment No. 25 on children’s rights in the digital age
Sharjah, March 27, 2021
The emirate of Sharjah, an active stakeholder in supporting the efforts of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) for an international standard for children’s rights in a digital world, has welcomed the recent adoption of the groundbreaking General Comment (GC) No.25, which ensures and protects the rights of children in the digital environment.
Under the auspices of Sharjah Child Friendly Office (SCFO), an affiliate of the Supreme Council for Family Affairs in Sharjah (SCFA), 20 children from the emirate, representing varied age groups and nationalities,tookpart of the global consultations for UNCRC during the draftingphase of GCNo.25.The outcomes of this consultative session – held in 2019 and organised by SCFO in collaboration with UNICEF Gulf Area Office -were considered in thedrafting process of the General Comment, which aims to provide guidance to relevant authorities and nations on the realisation of children’s rights in the digital environment.
UNCRC has engaged with more than 700 children and young people worldwide when drafting the General Comment to ensure that their views and concerns as digital citizens of the modern world are at the centre of this important discourse.
To mark its contribution in this vital child rights framework, SCFO participated in a global virtual event to celebrate the announcement of the General CommentNo.25. The event was hosted by 5Rights Foundation which had formed a steering group comprising 40 nation states, hundreds of organisations, and 50 dedicated experts from 27 countriesto assist in drafting the General Comment.
The foundationalso produced a global video campaign depicting children around the world explain the concept of General Comment No.25 in their own words.Two young people from Sharjah, who had participated in the 2019 consultative sessions, appear in this video campaign where they elucidate their rights for a safer and more inclusive internet.
The recently adopted General Commentidentifies what the digital environment means for children’s rights and freedoms, and tackles issues related to access to technology, data protection, non-discrimination, technological infrastructure in schools, children’s online safety, and privacy, amongst others.
Commenting on Sharjah’s contributions in protecting the rights of children online, Dr Hessa Khalfan Al Ghazal, Executive Director of SCFO, said: “The adoption of the General Comment is a landmark achievement for children worldwide, as it provides a regulatory framework for the realisation and application of their rights. The digital transformation drive in both Sharjah and the UAE further underlines the need to strike a balance between protecting children in digital environments while also ensuring their access to digital tools”.
“Sharjah is committed to the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child and has spared no effort in safeguarding the rights of children and youth in the emirate. As a result, the emirate became the first UNICEF-accredited Child Friendly City in the region in 2018,” she said.
Dr Al Ghazalemphasised that the opportunity provided to children in the emirate to participate in the global children’s consultations phase reflected SCFO’s strategic role in liaising with relevant institutions in Sharjah to design and implement targeted strategies and programmes that strengthen and safeguard the rights of children and youth and enhance their safety and wellbeing.
1-2. Young people from Sharjah take part in a video campaign on children’s rights in the digital world.
3. Sharjah Child Friendly City project logo.
About Sharjah Child Friendly Office (SCFO)
The Sharjah Child Friendly Office aims to protect and elevate the rights and wellbeing of children of all ages in Sharjah. It creates relevant strategies and plans and implements them in cooperation with relevant institutions and government authorities. The office is currently tasked with overseeing the continuation and implementation of the Sharjah Baby and Family Friendly Project (targeting families and children of all ages), and the Sharjah Child Friendly City Project (targeting age group 0-18).