21 September 2022 - UN General Assembly side event on the challenges of online sexual abuse and exploitation of children

Challenges of online sexual abuse and exploitation of children - 77th UN General Assembly virtual side event – co-organizers Cyprus, UAE, UN, CoE and Hope for Children

Wednesday, 21 September 2022 8:00-9:30 (EDT) / 15:00-16:30 (EET)

Opening Remarks by the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Cyprus,

Ladies and Gentlemen,
Dear friends,

It is a great pleasure to welcome you all to this important and timely side event. The dramatic increase of online sexual violence and exploitation of children constitutes a worrying trend, affecting children's lives everywhere in our intensely complex and rapidly changing world.

We, the international community have a responsibility to take action. Data has shown that online sexual violence and exploitation of children affects everyone. This urgently calls for coordinated action.

Cyprus sets the protection of children from sexual abuse and exploitation, including online sexual violence, as a priority. We fully recognize the importance of prevention, and therefore focus our efforts on promoting sexuality education in schools. Under the National Strategy for Combating Sexual Abuse and Exploitation of Children and Child Pornography, Cyprus has launched a series of measures in order to strengthen the coordination of services and the prevention of online sexual abuse of children.

The Government has identified the need for a specialized education as a fundamental tool for primary prevention of the sexual abuse and exploitation of children. The Implementation Council “FONI” was created to implement the national strategy for the prevention and combatting of this phenomenon, while a new three-year national action plan was approved. Clear and targeted sex education was included in school curricula and awareness-campaigns have been launched.

It is pertinent to note here that the Government of Cyprus is in the process of identifying its top priorities in advancing our candidacy for election to the UN Human Rights Council, for the period 2025-2027. I am glad to announce that the protection of the rights of children will be on one of the main pillars in this endeavor. We will use our voice to bring together all partners, governments and civil society to build bridges, identify gaps and formulate solutions.

Today’s event provides a unique opportunity to make an assessment of existing measures and to exchange best practices experience as well as lessons learned, in order to protect children from this scourge.

Thank you again for your participation and involvement and I wish you all the very best in your deliberations.


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