Child Friendly Materials, Study: Research

Enabling the Exercise of Civil and Political Rights: The views of children

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Centre for Children's Rights, Queen's University Belfast,Save the Children International

Save the Children’s Child Rights Governance Global Theme, through Save the Children Denmark, contracted the Centre for Children’s Rights (CCR) at Queen’s University Belfast to support this study on children’s experiences of exercising their civil and political rights.

This report presents the views of children collated from a consultation on children’s civil and political rights, which involved 1,606 respondents across 60 countries. The majority of participants had experience of being involved in civic action, much of which was supported by non-governmental organization (NGOs). What is evident from this consultation is that children can and do engage in civic action when they are well-supported. However, they meet a range of challenges and barriers, many of which would not exist to the same extent for adults.

The context of this study was the premise that children’s opportunities to act in order to improve their own lives depend on an enabled civil society. In their role of holding states to account, civil society organisations enable and support children to participate in governance as active citizens and agents for bringing about positive change in their societies. When children are involved in activities to improve their lives and to drive their own agendas, they draw on their ability to exercise their civil and political rights. Most of the children in the study were involved in local children’s organisations. Their actions ranged from advocating on an issue at school to representing children from their country at international-level meetings.

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