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Namibia President Urges Collective Action to Safeguard Children’s Rights in Digital Age

WINDHOEK, June 15 (Xinhua) — Namibian President Hage Geingob on Thursday addressed the urgent need to safeguard the rights of children in the digital environment and called for a collaborative approach to addressing the growing concerns that children face in the digital age.

In a statement commemorating the International Day of the African Child, which falls on Friday, Geingob emphasized the importance of considering the effects of the digital environment on children within the framework of the African Charter and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.

He highlighted the vast potential of the internet for connectivity, education, innovation, and entrepreneurship, and acknowledged the risks children face, including online child sexual exploitation, cyberbullying, abuse and cybercrime.

“The rights of the child offline are the same as online and in any other environment. We must ensure the promotion and protection of children’s rights in the digital realm through a multi-stakeholder approach,” he said.

The president emphasized the necessity of a collective effort from all sectors of society, including parents, educators, civil society organizations, and technology companies, to protect and empower children in the digital age through the implementation of comprehensive digital literacy programs, a heightened awareness of online risks, and the provision of necessary skills for the safe navigation of the digital world.

He stated that efforts must now focus on developing child-focused legislation and policies, strengthening awareness and capacity at the household level, and establishing mechanisms to enforce accountability for children’s online safety.

“On this day, let us renew our commitment to the rights of the African child in the digital environment. May we work together to create an inclusive and secure digital space that enables our children to thrive, explore their potential, and become responsible digital citizens,” he said.

In 2020, Namibia introduced the National Broadband Policy, actively involving children in the development of advocacy and information dissemination strategies while aiming to provide broadband infrastructure in all schools by 2030, ensuring equal access to the digital world for all children.

Furthermore, in 2016, Namibia joined the WePROTECT Global Alliance, committing to combat online child sexual exploitation, and established a National Multi-Stakeholder Task Force to oversee the implementation of the national framework and roadmap for child online protection.

The International Day of the African Child will this year be celebrated under the theme “The Rights of the Child in the Digital Environment.”

Source: English News