About the topic
Article 12 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child – the child’s right to be heard – is the fundamental tenet for children’s participation (ChP). As one of the four guiding principles of the CRC, Article 12 is both connected to and indivisible from all other rights enshrined in the Convention. There are additional articles that specifically intersect with Article 12 and directly help to define the meaningful participation of children, including the right to freedom of expression, thought, conscience, religion, association, peaceful assembly, protection of privacy and access to information (Articles 13 – 17 of the CRC). Together, this set of civil rights and freedoms have been broadly conceptualized under the term “participation”.
Children’s participation is crosscutting and should permeate all actions/decisions affecting children. In this way, it is viewed as both an individual’s right (i.e., to have children’s views heard and taken into account in issues concerning them), but also a working method that crosscuts all themes and contexts. As such, children’s participation is a set of civil rights to be fulfilled, a principle to be applied, and a means to fulfill other rights.