UN Human Rights Council 43rd Session
Nordic-Baltic Intervention by H.E. Ambassador Katrin Saarsalu-Layachi, Estonia
I have the honour to deliver this statement on behalf of the Nordic and Baltic countries: Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Sweden and my own country, Estonia.
We would like to express our appreciation to the Special Rapporteur for her valuable work during the past six years and thank her for the latest report providing the overview of the work done and the challenges ahead.
We, the Nordic and Baltic countries are committed to the fight against the sale and sexual exploitation of children. Through the ratification of the Council of Europe Convention on the Protection of Children against Sexual Exploitation and Sexual Abuse (the Lanzarote Convention), we have taken steps towards preventing this often hidden, yet one of the worst forms of violence against children. Committed also to gender equality we stand for eradication of patriarchal structures that is a fundamental factor driving for the demand for the sexual exploitation of girls. States are ultimately responsibile to ensure the rights of the child and to protect children from all forms of violence. We firmly believe that comprehensive sexuallity education is indispensible to ensure that victims of sexual expoitation and violence are equipped with the means to claim their rights.
The challenges and opportunities facing the world of today are inevitably also affecting the lives of our children. As your report points out, it is unacceptable that the information and communication technologies (ICTs) have become an alarming facilitator to the sexual exploitation of children. It is our strong conviction that all human rights, including the rights of the child and their right to a life free from violence, must be equally protected offline as well as online.
Madame Special Rapporteur, with that in mind, what would be your recommendation to the next mandate-holder to hold States more accountable for enacting safeguards for the rights of the child in the digital context?