Introducing our intern Matilda Sandvik

Already when I began my B.A. degree in Global Governance I knew that I wanted to pursue a career in which I could help others, while combining it with my passion toward international relations. Having spent several years abroad and while studying in such an international environment with classmates from all around the world, I further realised my significant privilege in having been born and raised in a country and society where my origin did not necessarily dictate what I could do with my future. It became clear to me that I wanted to use my privileged position to help those who are not as lucky. Thus began my passion toward human rights and development, which burns even stronger today. Due to the interdisciplinary nature of my bachelor’s degree, I’ve studied questions related to global governance from many perspectives which I greatly appreciate as I strongly believe that the complex problems that we face today on a societal and global level require multilateral solutions. However, when I got to choose my major in the third year of my studies it was clear to me that I would choose international law, which is a subject that I wished to master as a tool for starting my career in the fight for human rights. 

Despite the existence of a universal declaration of human rights, there is in reality no true consensus on a universal human rights theory. The ideologies present in the universal declaration largely stem from the western liberal tradition, and the divide between it and the eastern communitarian tradition was an important topic of research for my recent bachelor’s thesis at the University of Rome Tor Vergata. One area of human rights which has however managed to reach a higher level of consensus is that regarding the rights of children and other socially vulnerable groups. Among what are considered to be the 9 core human rights treaties, the International Convention on the Rights of the Child has the largest amount of state parties with a total of 196 ratifications, showing a dedication on the international level to the protection of children’s rights. But has international law developed enough, has it developed appropriately, and crucially, is it able to develop fast enough to meet the new challenges that it’s facing, such as that of cybercrime? This is what I will seek to further research during my continued studies, and I am thrilled to do so while working together with and learning from the experts at Protect Children. 

I myself belong to the generation where my important developmental years as a tween occurred simultaneously with the birth of social medias. They were new and exciting, and provided us with opportunities to connect with others in a way previously never imaginable. With the novelty however also came great risk, as there was simply not enough knowledge or information available about the lurking dangers hidden within. I am glad now as an adult to see that improvements have been made within the field of cyber security and children are educated about the topic more than before. These improvements are unfortunately not enough as it is clear that children continue to fall victim to sexual abuse and exploitation online, and the amount of child sexual abuse material (CSAM) available has exponentially grown together with the ever wider reach of the world wide web. Any child can fall prey to violence online and their fundamental right to safety needs to be ensured in all environments, whether that be physical or digital.  

As I am now continuing my studies with a Master of Laws in International Law at Tilburg University in the Netherlands, I am overjoyed to be simultaneously interning for Protect Children. Through this internship I am able to combine my great passion for human rights with my newfound interest in cyber security, and for the first time get a real taste of what it is like to help change the world for better, one step at a time. In addition, as a Finnish Swede, I am so happy to have the opportunity to assist in providing Swedish communications for the organization so that we can reach even more communities. It is a true honor and privilege to be working with the experts at PC, whose passion for what they do shows in the incredible quality of their work. Already after a short time spent at the organization, I feel more assured than ever of my choice to pursue a career in human rights. I sincerely look forward to continuing this experience, which is already teaching me so many new things, and to seeing the future challenges it will bring. After all, in order to continue fighting to secure children’s safety online, it is crucial that more people are trained and educated in this field. I will cherish and bring with me all that I am taught and continue realizing my dream of fighting for human rights. 

Read in Swedish here.