“Talking about children, without children does not make sense, as children are citizens of
today and not tomorrow”
-Mr. Marek Michalak – Ombudsman for Children of the Republic of Poland, Chair of the European Network of Ombudspersons for Children (ENOC)
Child Participation is one of the four basic principles of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC).
Article 12 of the CRC states that children (all human beings below the age of eighteen years unless, under the law applicable to the child, majority is attained earlier) have the right to participate in decision-making processes that may be relevant in their lives and influence decisions taken in their regard, within the family, the school and the community.
Participation must not be confused with manipulation. Participation is not genuine if children do not have the opportunity to understand the consequences and the impact of their own views and opinions so it is essential for every child to be provided with direction during the exercise of his or her rights in a manner consistent with his or her evolving capacities.
DCI believes that children’s participation is of fundamental importance. In November 2009, to celebrate its 30th Anniversary, DCI organized a symposium in Geneva entitled: “ Child Participation in Juvenile Justice ”, putting particular emphasis on the rights of the child to be heard in all the different phases of a judicial proceeding.
Moreover, DCI-Palestine annually holds a national conference on child participation, as the children of Palestine, who live under occupation and in a situation of armed conflicts, are constantly victims of political decisions and cannot have their voice heard.
Children are bearers of rights and they have the right to defend them.