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functionality of article 12, facilitating the essential role of children in all decisions affecting their lives.
Articles 12, 2 and 6
The right to non-discrimination is an inherent right guaranteed by all human
rights instruments including the Convention on the Rights of the Child. According to article 2 of the Convention, every child has the right not to be discriminated against in the exercise of his or her rights including those provided under article 12. The Committee stresses that States parties shall take adequate measures to assure to every child the right to freely express his or her views and to have those views duly taken into account without discrimination on grounds of race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national, ethnic or social origin, property, disability, birth or other status. States parties shall address discrimination, including against vulnerable or marginalized groups of children, to ensure that children are assured their right to be heard and are enabled to participate in all matters affecting them on an equal basis with all other children.
In particular, the Committee notes with concern that, in some societies,
customary attitudes and practices undermine and place severe limitations on the
enjoyment of this right. States parties shall take adequate measures to raise awareness and educate the society about the negative impact of such attitudes and practices and to
encourage attitudinal changes in order to achieve full implementation of the rights of every child under the Convention.
The Committee urges States parties to pay special attention to the right of the
girl child to be heard, to receive support, if needed, to voice her view and her view be
given due weight, as gender stereotypes and patriarchal values undermine and place severe limitations on girls in the enjoyment of the right set forth in article 12.
The Committee welcomes the obligation of States parties in article 7 of the
Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities to ensure that children with
disabilities are provided with the necessary assistance and equipment to enable them to
freely express their views and for those views to be given due weight.
Article 6 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child acknowledges that every
child has an inherent right to life and that States parties shall ensure, to the maximum extent possible, the survival and development of the child. The Committee notes the importance of promoting opportunities for the child’s right to be heard, as child participation is a tool to stimulate the full development of the personality and the evolving capacities of the child consistent with article 6 and with the aims of education
embodied in article 29.
Articles 12, 13 and 17
Article 13, on the right to freedom of expression, and article 17, on access to
information, are crucial prerequisites for the effective exercise of the right to be heard. These articles establish that children are subjects of rights and, together with article 12, they assert that the child is entitled to exercise those rights on his or her own behalf, in accordance with her or his evolving capacities.