The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Through participation and engagement at early ages in issues that concern children — far from promoting anarchy or disrespect for authority, or undermining parental authority — we see a generation of young people who are more respectful and concerned about their rights and the rights of others...

Participation not only looks different at different ages but is different. Encouraging child participation entails listening not just to the oldest, brightest and most articulate children, but to children of all ages and capacities...

Every child’s development is unique. Their environment, including their social class and economic conditions, cultural norms as well as local or family traditions and expectations, influences how children grow and learn. A child’s competency reflects the opportunities for participation — or the lack of them - that they have had in earlier stages of life. In both a negative and positive sense, each phase of childhood builds on the one before...

The Convention on the Rights of the Child does not explicitly set forth children’s right to participate — except as a goal for children with disabilities...There is, however, a “cluster of participation articles” that, when interpreted together, provide the argument for the child’s right to participate.

States parties shall respect the responsibilities, rights and duties of parents or, where applicable, the members of the extended family or community as provided for by local custom, legal guardians or other persons legally responsible for the child, to provide, in a manner consistent with the evolving capacities of the child, appropriate direction and guidance in the exercise by the child of the rights recognized in the present convention...

States parties shall assure to the child who is capable of forming his or her own views the right to express those views freely in all matters affecting the child, the views of the child being given due weight in accordance with the age and maturity of the child.

For this purpose, the child shall in particular be provided the opportunity to be heard in any judicial and administrative proceedings affecting the child, either directly, or through a representative or an appropriate body, in a manner consistent with the procedural rules of national law.

The child shall have the right to freedom of expression; this right shall include freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers, either orally, in writing or in print, in the form of art, or through any other media of the child’s choice.

States parties shall respect the right of the child to freedom of thought, conscience and religion. States parties shall respect the rights and duties of the parents and, when applicable, legal guardians, to provide direction to the child in the exercise of his or her right in a manner consistent with the evolving capacities of the child.

States parties recognize the rights of the child to freedom of association and to freedom of peaceful assembly. No child shall be subjected to arbitrary or unlawful interference with his or her privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to unlawful attacks on his or her honour and reputation. The child has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks.

States parties recognize the important function performed by the mass media and shall ensure that the child has access to information and material from a diversity of national and international sources, especially those aimed at the promotion of his or her social, spiritual and moral well-being and physical and mental health.…

States parties that recognize and/or permit the system of adoption shall ensure that the best interests of the child shall be the paramount consideration and they shall:

Ensure that the adoption of a child is authorized only by competent authorities who determine, in accordance with applicable law and procedures and on the basis of all pertinent and reliable information, that the adoption is permissible in view of the child’s status concerning parents, relatives and legal guardians and that, if required, the persons concerned have given their informed consent to the adoption on the basis of such counselling as may be necessary.

States parties shall take appropriate measures to ensure that a child who is seeking refugee status or who is considered a refugee in accordance with applicable international or domestic law and procedures shall, whether unaccompanied or accompanied by his or her parents or by any other person, receive appropriate protection and humanitarian assistance in the enjoyment of applicable rights set forth in the present convention and in other international human rights or humanitarian instruments to which the said states are parties.

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