Sunday, May 26, 2024

CULTURE | 23-04-2024 18:01

Young activists call on states, tech firms to uphold digital rights

Amnesty International’s Global Youth Summit convenes in Buenos Aires as rights campaigners discuss intricacies of life online.

Digital advocates have called on nation-states to ensure the safety and rights of youngsters as they struggle to navigate the complexities of life online.

The warnings were delivered as Amnesty International Argentina played host to the Global Youth Summit on Digital Rights in Puerto Madero, Buenos Aires, last week.

The summit, spanning three days, zeroed in on the challenges faced by children and adolescents in digital spaces, ranging from surveillance to harassment and abuse. 

Discussions focused on the creation of a global community to advance the rights of minors online, ensure their voices are heard and respected, guarantee equal access to a “safe, rights-respecting digital environment” and recognise the role played by youngsters in finding solutions to serious problems.

Drawing together voices from diverse corners of the world, the event served as a rallying call for rights activists. Calling for global standards, they demanded governments ensure the safety and assertion of rights of young people online.

International delegates at the Global Youth Summit on Digital Rights facilitated a platform for collective action, urging major tech entities to uphold the rights of young individuals online. As attendees deliberated on the intricacies of digital rights, one overarching theme emerged: the necessity of regional perspectives in addressing global issues.

It quickly became evident that digital rights encapsulate a broader framework of human rights, encompassing facets such as privacy, freedom of expression, and equitable Internet access. As technology continues to evolve, so too must our understanding and advocacy for digital rights, delegates argued.

Tabitha Mbuthia, a 22-year-old law student and online rights champion from Amnesty International Kenya, emphasised the urgent need for climate justice and digital protection in her local community. 

“I am working to ensure that children and youth have safe Internet access and are shielded from the detrimental effects of technology,” she explained.

Similarly, Isaiah Emmanuel Suguitan, a 24-year-old community nutrition student and advocate from the NGO’s Philippines chapter, highlighted the crucial importance of digital rights to highlight health inaccessibility and inequalities in his country.

“As someone in the health field, I am deeply concerned about the spread of health misinformation in the Philippines,” he told the Times.

Both Tabitha and Isaiah’s remarks underscore the multifaceted challenges and opportunities in the digital rights landscape, ranging from Internet safety for vulnerable populations to the dissemination of accurate health information.

These insights from grassroots activists shed light on the pressing issues at the intersection of technology, human rights, and public health. As digital advocacy gains momentum globally, their voices serve as catalysts for change in the pursuit of a more inclusive and secure digital future for all.

The Global Youth Summit served as a crucible for cross-cultural exchange, fostering dialogue and solidarity among youth leaders from disparate backgrounds. By bridging cultural divides, participants gained a deeper understanding of the universal impact of digital rights issues, transcending geographical boundaries in their pursuit of equitable digital futures.

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Girah Lundy-Joseph

Girah Lundy-Joseph


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