20 Years - The Convention on the Rights of the Child

Tess Ulrich

The Digital Revolution: A sponsor for children’s rights

Education and information equip children and young people with the knowledge and skills for a better life, and enhance their ability to reach their full potential. Yet as the second decade of the 21st century commences, in an age when the Internet provides a portal to unprecedented reservoirs of information, millions of children and young people remain illiterate. United Internet AG – a leading international Internet Service Provider and the world's premier web host – has chosen to draw on its universal medium to champion the rights of children through the United Internet for UNICEF Foundation.

The Convention on the Rights of the Child has made a remarkable difference in the lives of millions. Defending these rights is a global cause and therefore calls for a global response. The world must first recognize the desperate circumstance affecting many children for what it is – a grave and critical problem. Paramount to this struggle is universal adoption of article 3, which states that “the best interests of the child shall be a primary consideration [in all actions].”

The Foundation strives to further the Convention's goals on a global scale using Internet communication technology. Maintaining the dignity and worth of an individual, and promoting social progress and improved quality of life for children are its primary objectives. Working with UNICEF, the Foundation seeks to underline the importance of international cooperation – particularly in developing countries – in the fight to eradicate exploitation and violence against children.

The Convention inspired United Internet to reach out in the interest of children and young people through programmes in approximately 150 countries. These initiatives have generated tangible, long-term social improvements in medical care, nutrition and safe drinking water, and have provided support for orphans affected by HIV and AIDS, educational development, and protection abuses.

 Protecting and maintaining a healthy and safe environment for children must be understood as a binding global commitment for all stakeholders, including the private sector. United Internet's 40 million Internet users allocate funds to help sponsor work to support children’s rights and the global fight against poverty. The Foundation has collected more than 6 million euros in donations from about 5,700 active pledge donors since its establishment in 2006 via the online portals of 1&1, GMX and WEB.DE.

In the 20 years since the Convention’s adoption by the UN General Assembly, it has gained momentum, spreading awareness and encouraging governments to take responsibility in protecting and supporting their children. Thanks to the advocates who have resolutely fought to promote and protect the rights of the child, the Convention is steadily realizing its mission to turn what for many children is a world of oppression, disease and despair into a hopeful future built on equality and freedom.

United Internet AG’s Tess Ulrich shows how a leading Internet Service Provider draws on its universal medium to champion the rights of children and generate long-term social improvements in medical care, nutrition and educational development.

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