1. 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.
2. 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.
Article 12 is one of the most important articles of the UNCRC, as it first introduced into international law the right of all children to freely express their opinion and the duty of the responsible adults to take into account the views of the child in all administrative and judicial proceedings concerning them.
Why is it important to listen to children?
- Participation is a fundamental human right - all persons have a right to respect, equal treatement and free expression of their views
- Participation contributes to individual and social development, enhances self-esteem and self-confidence, cultivates useful skills
- Participation leads to better decisions and positive changes in children's lives
- Participation helps children to be better protected
- Participation contributes to the development of citizenship, tolerance and respect for others
- Participation strengthens responsibility, initiatives and the sense of 'belonging'
Selected bibliography on article 12
The United Nations (1989). Convention on the Rights of the Child. https://www.ohchr.org/en/professionalinterest/pages/crc.aspx
United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child (2009). General Comment no. 12, The Right of the Child to be Heard (CRC/C/GC/12). https://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/crc/docs/AdvanceVersions/CRC-C-GC-12.pdf
United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child. Day of General Discussion on the Right of the Child to Be Heard, Forty-third session, 11-29 September 2006 https://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/crc/docs/discussion/Final_Recommendations_after_DGD.doc
Council of Europe: Committee of Ministers. Recommendation CM/Rec(2012)2 of the the Committee of Ministers to member States on the participation of children and young people under the age of 18. http://www.refworld.org/docid/506981802.html. Easy to read version: https://rm.coe.int/168046c478
Council of Europe (2016). Child Participation Assessment Tool. https://rm.coe.int/CoERMPublicCommonSearchServices/DisplayDCTMContent?documentId=09000016806482d9
European Commission: Directorate-General for Justice and Consumers (2015). Evaluation of legislation, policy and practice of child participation in the European Union. Luxemburg: European Union. https://publications.europa.eu/en/publication-detail/-/publication/3f3c50b2-6a24-465e-b8d1-74dcac7f8c42.
European Commission: Directorate-General for Justice and Consumers (2015). Evaluation of children's participation 2012-2014 EU study. Children’s and young people’s summary. Luxemburg: European Union. https://publications.europa.eu/el/publication-detail/-/publication/e425a5b9-af6b-4b1f-97fa-a9171ab550c2
Eurochild (2018). Training Tool on engaging children in advocacy work on their right to participate in decision-making processes. https://www.eurochild.org/fileadmin/public/05_Library/Thematic_priorities/05_Child_Participation/Eurochild/Training_Tool_on_engaging_children_in_advocacy_work.pdf
Hammarberg, T. (2009). “Children have the right to be heard and adults should listen to their views”. In Janusz Korczak: The child's right to respect. JanuszKorczak's legacy: lectures on today's challenges for children. Strasbourg: Council of Europe. pp.81-90.https://www.coe.int/t/commissioner/source/prems/PublicationKorczak_en.pdf
Hart, Roger A. (1992). Children's Participation: From tokenism to citizenship. Innocenti Essay no. 4, Florence: International Child Development Centre. https://www.unicef-irc.org/publications/pdf/childrens_participation.pdf
Kirby, P., Lanyon, C., Cronin, K. & Sinclair, R. (2003). Building a Culture of Participation. Involving children and young people in policy, service planning, delivery and evaluation. London: Department for Education and Skills. https://www.unicef.org/adolescence/cypguide/files/Building_a_culture_of_participation.pdf
Krappmann, L. (2010). “The weight of the child's view (Article 12 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child)”. The International Journal of Children’s Rights 18 (2010) 501–513. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/274466028_The_weight_of_the_child's_view_Article_12_of_the_Convention_on_the_Rights_of_the_Child
Lansdown, G. (2001). Promoting Children's Participation in Democratic Decision-Making, Innocenti Insights no. 6, Florence: UNICEF Innocenti Research Center https://www.unicef-irc.org/publications/pdf/insight6.pdf
Lansdown, G. (2011). Every child's right to be heard. A resource guide on the UN committee on the rights of the child general comment no.12. United Kingdom: The Save the Children Fund. http://www.unicef.org/french/adolescence/files/Every_Childs_Right_to_be_Heard.pdf
Lansdown, G. & O’Kane (2014), Toolkit for Monitoring and Evaluating Children’s participation, London: The Save the Children Fund. https://reliefweb.int/report/world/toolkit-monitoring-and-evaluating-childrens-participation
O'Donnell, D. (2009). The Right of Children to be Heard: Children's rights to have their views taken into account and to participate in legal and administrative proceedings, Innocenti Working Papers no. 2009-04. https://www.unicef-irc.org/publications/553-the-right-of-children-to-be-heard-childrens-rights-to-have-their-views-taken-into.html
Percy-Smith, B. (Ed.), Thomas, N. (Ed.). (2010). A Handbook of Children and Young People's Participation. London: Routledge. http://nmd.bg/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/Routledge-A_Handbook_for_Children_and_Young_Peoples_Participation.pdf
Save the Children Alliance (2003). So you want to consult with children? A toolkit of good practice. https://resourcecentre.savethechildren.net/sites/default/files/documents/2553.pdf
Save the Children (2005). Practice Standards in Children’s Participation. https://resourcecentre.savethechildren.net/node/3017/pdf/3017.pdf
Save the Children (2011). It’s all about children: Seven good examples and ten steps to meaningful children's participation in reporting to the Committee on the Rights of the Child. https://resourcecentre.savethechildren.net/node/3961/pdf/3961.pdf
Tisdall, EKM. (2015). “Children and Young People’s Participation: A critical consideration of Article 12”. In W.Vandenhole, E.Desmet, D.Reynaert & S.Lembrechts (eds), Routledge International Handbook of Children’s Rights Studies. London: Routledge, pp. 185-200. https://www.research.ed.ac.uk/portal/files/18016074/Children_and_Young_People_s_Participation.pdf
UNICEF, Child and youth participation resource guide. https://www.unicef.org/adolescence/cypguide/
UNICEF, Children's Participation in the Work of NHRIs. https://www.unicef.org/eca/sites/unicef.org.eca/files/2019-02/NHRI_Participation.pdf
Welty, E. & Lundy, L. (2013). “A children’s rights-based approach to involving children in decision making”, Journal of Science Communication 12(03): C02. https://jcom.sissa.it/sites/default/files/documents/JCOM1203%282013%29C02.pdf