Date: April 14, 2019
“In February 2019 the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child released a draft set of Guidelines for the implementation of an existing international treaty on child protection called the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography. These Guidelines included a radical reinterpretation of the international legal definition of “child pornography,” that would expand it to include not only photographs and movies, but also “drawings and cartoons; audio representations; any digital media representation; live performances; written materials in print or online; and physical objects such as sculptures, toys, or ornaments.” In other words, criminalizing art and fiction.
This move not only violates the freedom of expression that is guaranteed in international law, but also stigmatizes millions of innocent people around the world, painting them as being tantamount to child abusers. Responding to this threat, thousands of free speech advocates and fans from around the world rapidly signed our petition against the proposal, while others sent in their own independent submissions to the Committee.
The Committee’s consultation closed at the end of March, and this week, it finally published the submissions that it had received—or at least, it published some of them. Unfortunately Prostasia Foundation’s own submission was unaccountably omitted from those listed on the Committee website, although the petition that we organized, which is a separate document that was sent later, is included. We have contacted the Committee urgently expressing our concern at the omission of our main submission, and seeking that this be rectified.
Thankfully, many of the other submissions from national governments, research institutions, and nonprofit organizations express some of the same concerns that our submission raised—and some of them raise additional points of concern.”