The right to be heard: child participation, a foundation for democratic societies

Report by the Council of Europe:

Every child has the right to speak and to be heard. Listening to children can help us make our societies a better place for everyone. Child participation is also a building block of the stability of our societies. This

While there exists a wealth of examples of successful practice, too often child participation is not given sufficient priority and resources, and remains tokenistic, sporadic, or limited to the privileged and articulate minority.

The Parliamentary Assembly calls on the Council of Europe member States to review the progress achieved; ensure that child participation is systematic and inclusive, with a particular focus on children in vulnerable situations; support capacity building among all professionals dealing with children, as well as among parliamentarians and public service officials; support local and regional authorities and civil society organisations in promoting child participation; and consider lowering the voting age to 16.

To match its words with actions, the Assembly undertakes to consult children – in an appropriate way and with due respect to safeguarding procedures – in the preparation of the reports that concern them, through written consultations, participation in hearings, debates, focus groups and parliamentary networks; and provide children with feedback on what impact they have had.

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Doreen E. Massey  |   10-01-2022