Amalya Araqelyan’s Speech during the Conference “Child’s Rights in the Eyes of Children”

Children’s rights from the other side of the camera.

With the development of technology, many children become victims of news agencies or people without basic knowledge of internet usage; therefore, sometimes they become victims of child molesters. That is mainly linked to the fact that children and their legal representatives, and why not also the majority of educators, do not know their rights and cannot protect them from such cyberattacks.

By posting photos of children on the internet, in newspapers and other online platforms, their rights are violated. Unfortunately, that often remains unnoticed or the storm that is raised is weaker than what we could have expected.

First, let us note that any individual who has not reached the age of 18 is considered a child if the law applied upon them does not commence adulthood at an earlier age.This is noted in the first article of the Convention on the Rights of Children. The rights and protection of children is defined in the Geneva Convention of 1924 and the Declaration of the Rights of Children. The latter was adopted by the General Assembly on November 20, 1959. These rights are recognized in the Universal Declaration on Human Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (specifically, articles 23 and 24), the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (specifically, article 10), and also in the charters and corresponding documents of the special relevant bodies and international organizations.

According to article 3 section 1 of the above mentioned convention, all actions toward a child, regardless of who takes those actions, be it state or private agencies working with the issues of social preservation, courts, administrative or legislative bodies, foremost attention is paid to the child’s best interests.

While covering problems related to children and teenagers, there is no need to endanger them. UNICEF has formed principles of ethically correct coverage, which will aid journalists covering the problems of children to prioritize the child’s best interest and the protection of the rights of the child.

Apart from the existing 6 fundamental principles, there are also six principles for hosting an interview with a child and also seven principles for covering the problems of a child.

Six fundamental principles

  1. In any situation respect the rights and dignity of every child.
  2. While covering a problem or hosting an interview, pay special attention to the child’s rights of secrecy and anonymity, expression of opinion, protection from harm or retribution and participation in the making of decisions related to them.
  3. Above everything else, give priority to the child’s best interest. That is, support the protection of the rights of the child and raise the problems related to the child.
  4. To understand the child’s best interest, it is necessary to note their right to be heard, based on their age uniqueness.
  5. Speak with the people who know best the situation that the child is in.
  6. Never publish any articles or photos that can endanger the child or their brothers, sisters or peers. Maintain carefulness, even when their identity has changed, is hidden or not mentioned.

During the Armenian-Azerbaijani clashes, the news agencies released a picture of two brothers who found an Azerbaijani saboteur in their house. After a very short time, materials about these children began to spread, in which even their location was noted. The video can be found on the internet now as well. Let me note that the parents of these children have a participation in the video, too. Due to the war situation, it was dangerous to release videos about children since their life would be endangered. The children could become victims of Azerbaijani cyber violence or victims of physical violence in general. Therefore, several of the fundamental points were violated in this case.