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HRC38: Danish youth statement in Annual Debate on Women’s Rights focussing on Violence against Women and digital spaces

Danish youth statement in Annual Debate on Women’s Rights focussing on Violence against Women and digital spaces


38th session of the Human Rights Council

Annual full-day discussion on the human rights of women
 Panel 1: The impact of violence against women human rights defenders and women’s organisations in digital spaces

21 June 16.00-18.00

Delivered by
 Ida Paetau, Youth Delegate, Denmark

[Check against Delivery]
 Thank you, Mr. President,
 Distinguished panelists,

My name is Ida Paetau and I am one of two Youth Delegates to the United Nations representing Denmark and the Danish youth in the debate here today.

Our democratic space is expanding. Today, online platforms are increasingly hosting democratic conversations influencing people's political, social and cultural participation. As so, they play a unique part in shaping our societies and represent an opportunity for increasing democratic participation.
 However, just short of 60% of young people in Denmark refrain from engaging in the democratic conversations that take place online. The majority of these are young women who - out of fear of harassment and doxing - are excluded from fully enjoying their human rights.
 And their fear is justified - I personally know women who have been cyberstalked, harassed, have had their personal photos shared across the internet without their consent, been threatened with violence or even threats of rape simply for speaking their opinion online.

The effects are daunting and clear – fewer women are exercising their right to freedom of speech and fewer women are participating in online democratic conversations.

Their democratic space is decreased compared to that of their male peers.

As a young woman I am concerned about how these online platforms affect young women’s opportunities to exercise their human rights.
 But as the Danish youth, we have many ideas on how to solve these issues today we propose two concrete solutions.

1) Firstly, we need to incorporate gender-responsive digital literacy as part of schools’ education materials, including as part of the comprehensive sexuality education. – and it is vital that young people are part of the development of that material.
 2) Secondly, just as the offline platforms, online platforms are accountable and should be held responsible for the content that is published, for the profiles that are created to anonymously promote hatred and for the forums that are made where abuse, harassment, and discrimination is thriving unsupervised.

Thank you.