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What does the United Nations say about Children’s Participation?

Participation of children and young people is one of the General Principles of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child as it plays a fundamental role in realising all the rights in the Convention for all children.

One of the relevant articles of the Convention that addresses the principle of participation is Article 12, the right to be heard. Article 12 says that every child has the right to express their views, feelings and wishes in all matters affecting them, and to have their views considered and taken seriously. This principle recognises children and young people as actors in their own lives and applies at all times throughout a child’s life.

There is also a wider group of rights (or articles)- displayed below- that address the right of children to participate and which influence our understanding of participation, including a child’s right to seek and receive information, to express their own views and to associate with others.

Respect for children’s evolving  capacities

Art. 5

Right to

Art. 17

Right to
in criminal

Art. 40

Right to legal
advice when
deprived of

Art. 40

Right to
knowledge of
the CRC

Art. 42
Art. 31

Right to
freedom in

Art. 13, 14, 15

Freedom of

Art. 9

Right to be
heard if
from parents

Art. 12

Right to be
listened to
and taken

Art. 23

Right of
children with
disabilities to

*Source UNICEF