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Press Centre (10/2014)

Conference on child rights in a digital future opens in Istanbul today

 ISTANBUL/GENEVA, 16 October 2014 — An international conference on children, youth, and digital media co-hosted by UNICEF and 12 Turkish universities kicked off/started today at Istanbul.

As part of the celebrations to mark the 25th anniversary of the ground breaking UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), the conference aims to reflect on the progress made and to draw attention to new and persisting challenges faced by vulnerable children and families. The Convention was ground breaking  since it looked anew at children with rights equal to those of adults and has proven to be invaluable for ensuring progress for children across the globe.

“Children are spending more and more time in a digital world,” commented UNICEF Turkey Representative, OIC Lieke van de Wiel, “Just like other environment in which children find themselves most of their time such a schools or families, this environment should also empower and protect girls and boys and enable them to reach their full potential. It is time for all of us both to acknowledge the great opportunities which exist in the digital future and to shoulder our own responsibilities.”

Tomorrow, will see the launch of a new UNICEF global report entitled Children’s Rights in a Digital Age focused on the need to re-examine the CRC in this fast-changing era where the online and offline worlds increasingly merge together. The publication features a thought-provoking essay by Professor Urs Gasser at the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University comparing 25 years of the Internet with 25 years of child rights realization.

Focus on the vulnerable
The two-day event in Istanbul has been co-organized with UNICEF and the communication faculties of Ankara, Anadolu, Bilgi, Çukurova, Gazi, Galatasaray, İstanbul, İstanbul Aydın, Kocaeli, Konya, Mersin and Hacettepe universities. The Dublin Institute of Technology is also a key presenter, highlighting a five-year cooperation with UNICEF to embed journalism studies and child rights in 12 countries and 40 universities in Europe and Central Asia.

Participating academics, experts, civil society and young people have been discussing innovations for realizing the rights of all children – including vulnerable groups such as children with disabilities, children from ethnic minorities and children from poor, rural families and in some cases girls.

Opportunities to participate
The Istanbul conference is focusing on both the opportunities and challenges that children and young people encounter in the communications and digital environment. Agenda topics include inequitable access to ICTs, risks to online safety and privacy, skills and digital literacy. Child rights media coverage, open-source journalism and other participatory opportunities are also being emphasized.

With a particular focus on developing countries in Europe and Central Asia, the conference participants explored the global state of relevant research and practice, shared and discussed insights and ideas from all around the world and encouraged collaboration between participants across regions and continents.
For more information: www.icrdf.org
Sema Hosta, UNICEF Turkey, shosta@unicef.org, Tel:+90533 622 83 46
Lely Djuhari, UNICEF Regional Office for CEE/CIS, ldjuhari@unicef.orgTel: +41792044482
UNICEF Turkey Country Office, Yukarı Dikmen Mah. Alexsander Dubçek Cd. 7/106, 06450 Çankaya/Ankara. Telephone: +90 312 454 1000 Fax: +90 312 496 1461 E-mail: ankara@unicef.org