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UNITED NATIONS, April 19, 2002 (LSN.ca) – In a United Nations release today the UN Special Rapporteurs on Sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography, and on Freedom of opinion and expression expressed regret at the child pornography decision of the US Supreme Court. Mr. Juan Miguel Petit (Children) and Mr. Abid Hussain (Freedom of Expression) criticized the decision of the US Supreme Court to strike down the Child Pornography Prevention Act of 1996, which prohibits the distribution and possession of “virtual” child pornography – using computer-generated images.

In a 6-3 ruling, the US Court said the law violates the First Amendment guarantee of freedom of speech, but Petit argues that the right of all children to be protected from sexual abuse must take priority. “Many argue that as no actual child is involved in the production of this type of pornography, there is no victim and no harm is done. On the contrary, any image portraying children as sexual objects is extremely harmful to all children. We are trying desperately to convey the message that sexual exploitation of children is wrong, but the legitimization of the right to enjoy visual fantasies of this nature compromises the efforts of all involved in the struggle to protect children.”“While freedom of expression is a right that should be protected and secured, the sensitivities of society and the moral codes of good conduct should not be sacrificed. In some circumstances, and in particular when the exercise of the right to freedom of expression is harmful to children and in conflict with their human rights, restraints to freedom of expression are called for and legitimate” Hussain adds.

See the UN release:  https://www.unhchr.ch/huricane/huricane.nsf/view01/BA24C9E137C90E64C1256BA000435288?opendocument

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