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children in the reporting process to the Committee on the Rights of the Child have particular relevance. The Committee welcomes written reports and additional oral information submitted by child organizations and children’s representatives in the monitoring process of child rights implementation by States parties, and encourages States parties and NGOs to support children to present their views to the Committee.
Basic requirements for the implementation of the right of the child to be heard
The Committee urges States parties to avoid tokenistic approaches, which limit
children’s expression of views, or which allow children to be heard, but fail to give their views due weight. It emphasizes that adult manipulation of children, placing children in situations where they are told what they can say, or exposing children to risk of harm through participation are not ethical practices and cannot be understood as implementing article 12.
If participation is to be effective and meaningful, it needs to be understood as a
process, not as an individual one-off event. Experience since the Convention on the Rights of the Child was adopted in 1989 has led to a broad consensus on the basic requirements which have to be reached for effective, ethical and meaningful implementation of article 12. The Committee recommends that States parties integrate
these requirements into all legislative and other measures for the implementation of article 12.
All processes in which a child or children are heard and participate, must be:
Transparent and informative – children must be provided with full, accessible, diversity-sensitive and age-appropriate information about their right to express their views freely and their views to be given due weight, and how this participation will take place, its scope, purpose and potential impact;
Voluntary – children should never be coerced into expressing views against their wishes and they should be informed that they can cease involvement at any stage;
Respectful – children’s views have to be treated with respect and they should be provided with opportunities to initiate ideas and activities. Adults working with children should acknowledge, respect and build on good examples of children’s participation, for instance, in their contributions to the family, school, culture and the work environment. They also need an understanding of the socio- economic, environmental and cultural context of children’s lives. Persons and organizations working for and with children should also respect children’s views with regard to participation in public events;
(d) Relevant – the issues on which children have the right to express their views must be of real relevance to their lives and enable them to draw on their knowledge, skills and abilities. In addition, space needs to be created to enable children to highlight and address the issues they themselves identify as relevant and important;