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Namibians have been called to join hands and work together to protect and uphold the rights of children in the digital realm.

President Hage Geingob says it is crucial that Namibia take decisive action to invest in digital literacy and provide them with the necessary tools to responsibly navigate the digital world.

This plea forms part of President Geingob's message as Namibians commemorate the International Day of the African Child.

President Geingob emphasised that today's remembrance of the International Day of the African Child, under the theme 'The Rights of the Child in the Digital Environment,' recognises the urgent need to safeguard the rights of children as they navigate the opportunities and challenges of the digital age.

The Namibian Head of State shares equal concerns about the growing exposure of children to the internet and the virtual world.

While the internet offers vast opportunities such as connectivity, education, innovation, and entrepreneurship, President Geingob emphasises the need to be cautious due to the evident threats that exist, including online child sexual exploitation, cyberbullying, abuse, and cybercrime.

To address these challenges and ensure the promotion and protection of children's rights, a multi-stakeholder approach is necessary.

President Geingob emphasises that children's rights offline are the same as online and in any other environment, and the impact of the digital environment on children must be considered within the framework of the rights outlined in the African Charter and the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

In 2020, Namibia implemented the National Broadband Policy, which specifically includes children in the development of advocacy and information dissemination strategies, demonstrating the country's commitment to addressing these issues.

In 2016, Namibia also signed the WePROTECT Global Alliance's Statements of Action to Tackle Online Child Sexual Exploitation. A National Multi-Stakeholder Task Force was established to continuously monitor the implementation of the national framework and road map for child online protection. The President says the progress we have made in the Namibian House to advance the rights of children is commendable.

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Blanche Goreses/Tangeni Haipare