2021 03 24
2021 03 24
On 24 March 2021, the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child officially launched their new General Comment No. 25 on Children’s rights in relation to the digital environment. The adoption of this General Comment signals the first time that children’s digital experiences are mentioned within the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) and marks a historic moment for all those working to protect children on the internet. Following the CRC’s adoption of the general comment 25, the 196 States who are signatories to the Convention will now have to report formally on its provisions. Its adoption makes explicit – for the first time – that children’s rights apply in the digital world.
The Comment is a culmination of three years of work supported by 40 nation states, hundreds of organisations, 709 children and 50 dedicated experts from 28 countries who have contributed to the process and represents a landmark moment because it is the first international authoritative legal document recognizing explicitly that children’s rights apply both offline and online (OHCHR, 2021).
The General Comment is an important document that will facilitate and guide the interpretation of certain articles of the CRC and in this specific case will update the interpretation of the CRC with respect to internet and technology developments. The document comes at an unprecedented and pivotal moment as the coronavirus pandemic has, and continues to, threaten child rights, and heavily exacerbate children’s presence online while worldwide educational, leisure, social, political and professional activities undergo massive relocation to the virtual sphere.