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cats 2016 1The Bulgarian Safer Internet Center (SIC), represented by Evelina Lafchiyska – the coordinator of the Helpline, and Anna Bratoeva – youth representative, delivered a workshop at the leading European child participation conference CATS – Children as actors for transforming society, which was held in Caux, Switzerland from 26 July to 1 August 2016.

The workshop was called “Digital rights of young people – from local empowerment to global recognition” and its aim was to enable participants to reflect on the online challenges faced by young people from the children’s rights perspective, but also to consider how internet impedes and facilitates the realization of children’s rights across the globe. The main focus of ‪#‎CATS16 conference was the realization of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) set by UN, so the workshop also addressed how internet and digital technologies impact the realization of goals such as ending poverty, promoting wellbeing, promoting life learning opportunities for all, reducing inequality, achieving peace and justice.‬cats 2016 2

Within four sessions, the workshop addressed:

- Children’s rights under the UN Convention on Children's Rights and how internet affect their realization;
- Situations concerning children's rights in the digital age by discussing specific cases of violations;
- Challenges and obstacles that individuals and organizations encounter when they are trying to promote and protect the rights of children in the digital age on global and local level;
- Opportunities for change where each participant designed a plan of action as a user and as a member of a group, community or organization.

Bulgarian SIC attended the conference for the second time this year. Last year’s participants from SIC’s youth panel – Lily Slavova and Borislava Dineva, this year were more actively involved in the organization of the conference itself, contributing to the planning, development and facilitation of various activities.

CATS is organized by the Universal Education Foundation, Caux Foundation, Initiatives of Change, Eurochild and Child to Child. The conference is hosted every year by the CAUX-Initiatives of Change Foundation in the Swiss Alps.

This year ‪#‎CATS16 conference welcomed 310 people from 35 countries of whom 160 were children and young people.‬