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The Right of Children to Participate in Public Decision-Making Processes

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Save the Children International

The right of children to participate in decision‑making in all matters that affect their lives is a well‑established legal principle and international research indicates growing evidence that states are implementing this principle in the sphere of public decision-making. Processes and structures that ensure children’s voices are heard in public decision-making include children’s parliaments, children’s councils, children’s clubs, conferences, ad hoc consultations, politicians’ ‘surgeries’ and engagement through social media.

This report was commissioned by the Child Rights Governance team at Save the Children and was undertaken by the Centre for Children’s Rights and Family Law at University College Cork and the Centre for Children’s Rights at Queen’s University Belfast. It brings together the research literature and the experience of civil society organisations working around the world to promote effective engagement with and participation by children and young people in decisions by national and local governments. Drawing on examples from a variety of countries representing diverse economic, social, political and cultural circumstances, it identifies the building blocks that are conducive to the effective participation of children in public decision-making.

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