Every year on June 16th, the world celebrates the Day of the African Child (DAC). The Day of African Child was initiated in 1991 by the Organizations of African Union (OAU-the now AU) to commemorate the 16th June 1976 students’ uprising in Soweto, South Africa following a protest of poor quality of education for black students. In addition to honouring African children, the DAC encourages thoughtful reflection and a firm commitment to tackling the many issues that children on the continent must contend with. Member States should place the commemoration in the perspective of the progression of children’s rights realization from the family/community level to the national and international levels.
The Rights of the Child in the Digital Environment
It is obvious that the impact of the digital environment on children needs to be taken into account in the context of the rights outlined in the African Children’s Charter. The digital environment mediates the lives of children in ways that impact how they can enjoy their rights and how their rights may be improved or violated. Children’s rights to protection from all types of violence as well as their rights to participation and provision are among the pertinent rights. Children will be more vulnerable to risks of damage online in the absence of appropriate safeguards. The same rights that children have offline must be safeguarded online since a child behaving in an online environment is not different from a child acting in an offline setting. In this regard, the ACERWC notes that the ACRWC’s protections for children’s rights equally apply to activities conducted online. Legislative, policy and other responses need to take this knowledge into account. It is essential to emphasize that many stakeholders have a role to play in guaranteeing the promotion and protection of children’s rights in the digital space.
DAC 2023 Celebrations
Most of Africa, including our (EACRN) networks, observed the Day of the African Child. The celebration’s message was clear and concise: “Children must be protected online.” The following EACRN national child rights coalitions observed the celebrations in a different fashion: