Raise awareness of environmental health issues in order to better protect our children and future generations.

28 June 2018

Council of Europe: Draft Guidelines to Promote, Protect and Fulfil Children's Rights in the Digital Environment Make No Mention of Children's Exposure to Electromagnetic Radiation

RE-POSTED JUNE 2018:    To date, we cannot find a finalized version of this document.  The right to health and well-being is a fundamental right for all human beings. It seems to be neglected in this draft document, in the context of exposure to radiofrequency radiation.  Children, with their smaller bodies, are more vulnerable  to the dangers of this type of radiation and must especially be protected.

The Council of Europe has issued a draft document, comments due by 4 September 2017: "Guidelines to promote, protect and fulfil children’s rights in the digital environment", applying to all children under the age of 18 in the 47 Member States of the Council of Europe. It seems to cover subjects such as child sexual abuse, bullying, protection of personal data, etc. and to promote digital education. After a quick perusal of the document, we see no mention of the mental and physical risks of exposing children to the electromagnetic radiation (EMR) emitted by digital technology. The right to health and well-being is a fundamental human right that seems to be neglected in this document, in the context of EMR exposure.

Does this contradict Council of Europe's resolution 1815 of May 2011 "The potential dangers of electromagnetic fields and their effect on the environment" where article 5 states: "As regards standards or threshold values for emissions of electromagnetic fields of all types and frequencies, the Assembly strongly recommends that the ALARA (as low as reasonably achievable) principle is applied, covering both the so-called thermal effects and the athermic or biological effects of electromagnetic emissions or radiation. Moreover, the precautionary principle should be applied when scientific evaluation does not allow the risk to be determined with sufficient certainty. Given the context of growing exposure of the population, in particular that of vulnerable groups such as young people and children, there could be extremely high human and economic costs if early warnings are neglected."
Ref: http://assembly.coe.int/nw/xml/XRef/Xref-XML2HTML-en.asp?fileid=17994

Call for consultation: guidelines for member States to promote, protect and fulfil children’s rights in the digital environment

In accordance with its terms of reference, and in line with the Council of Europe Strategy for the Rights of the Child (2016-2021), the Ad Hoc Committee for the Rights of the Child (CAHENF) is elaborating guidelines for member States to promote, protect and fulfil children’s rights in the digital environment, with the support of its drafting group (CAHENF-IT). The elaboration of the draft legal instrument started in 2016 and is expected to be completed by November 2017.

A wide consultation of key actors and civil society has been scheduled before finalising the preparation of the future legal instrument, in order for the Committee to be able to consider their point of views and experiences.

A written consultation on the instrument is now open. Comments on the draft instrument should be inserted in "track changes" in the attached document and sent to the CAHENF Secretariat (children@coe.int) in English or French, by 4 September 2017 at the latest.

Draft guidelines to promote, protect and fulfil children's rights in the digital environment

Here are some excerpts from the draft guidelines:

- Limited or no access to the digital environment can deprive children of the ability to exercise fully their human rights.

- Digital States should promote the development of digital literacy, including media and information literacies, as part of the basic education curriculum and from the earliest years

- States should ensure investment in digital hardware, software, connectivity and training in schools to support learning.

- States should ensure the development and availability of awareness-raising efforts, user tools and education programmes for children and parents or caregivers to enable benefits and prevent and respond to risks in the digital environment, with the involvement of children. This should include support for skills that enable children to better understand and deal with potentially harmful content (such as violence and self-harm, pornography, discrimination and racism) and behaviour (such as grooming, bullying or harassment)...


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