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The Executive Assistant to Rev. Keishi Miyamoto, Mr. Hironari Miyamoto together with the Secretary General, GNRC, Dr. Mustafa Y. Ali, represented Arigatou International in an international high-level conference on Initiatives for the Effective Protection of Child Dignity in the Digital World on 14th and 15th November 2019 at the Casina Pio IV, headquarters of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences, in the Vatican Gardens.

Online child Sexual Exploitation and Abuse (OCSE) is an emerging challenge that is a nightmare to the protection of children globally. According to the FBI there are a total of 750,000 individuals looking to connect with children across the globe for sexual purposes online at any moment. This means there are so many children exposed to and already affected by cyber-bullying, harassment and sextortion. Low levels of awareness of the gravity of this issue, weak or non-existent law enforcement frameworks on the perpetrators and the rapidly growing and sophisticated digital space and access make it difficult to protect the dignity of children.

The First Continental Consultation on ending Online Child Sexual Exploitation (OCSE) in Africa was held on 6th to 8th March 2019 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. This consultation involved representatives from 37 African Union (AU) Member States and was for the purpose of building their awareness on OCSE and mobilizing them to commit to tackling the threat at country level. The Member States developed an ‘Outcome Document’ that outlined recommendations on continental level actions as well as country level actions to tackle OCSE for consideration by the African Union Commission (AUC) and Member States.

The National Committees of the Global Network of Religions for Children (GNRC) in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Cuba, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Peru, Dominican Republic, and Uruguay, express deep concern over the increasing violence in the region, and its impact on children and adolescents.

The Arigatou International is pleased to share that Rev. Fred Nyabera, the Director of End Child Poverty, is the recipient of the, “2019 Spirit of the United Nations.” The award is presented to members of the UN community including ambassadors, UN Staff, NGOs, and youth representatives, for upholding the founding spirit of the United Nations.

Kenya’s peace and security landscape is characterized by conflict drivers, including ethno-political competition for power, poverty and youth unemployment, and has pushed or pulled vulnerable youth and children into violent extremist groups. The situation is further exacerbated by regional instability and attendant problems like trafficking of small arms through the vast porous borders. Children and young people have become the easiest targets for radicalization into violent extremism. Children and youth are the most vulnerable victims, not to mention those who have been recruited as child soldiers to fight in the wars and conflicts.