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CRC/C/GC/12 page 3

The right of the child to be heard

Article 12 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child provides:

“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.”

I. INTRODUCTION

1.

Article 12 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (the Convention) is a

unique provision in a human rights treaty; it addresses the legal and social status of children, who, on the one hand lack the full autonomy of adults but, on the other, are

subjects of rights. Paragraph 1 assures, to every child 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 age and maturity. Paragraph 2 states, in particular, that the child shall be afforded the right to be heard in any judicial

or administrative proceedings affecting him or her.

2.

The right of all children to be heard and taken seriously constitutes one of the

fundamental values of the Convention. The Committee on the Rights of the Child (the

Committee) has identified article 12 as one of the four general principles of the Convention, the others being the right to non-discrimination, the right to life and development, and the primary consideration of the child’s best interests, which

highlights the fact that this article establishes not only a right in itself, but should also be

considered in the interpretation and implementation of all other rights.

3.

Since the adoption of the Convention in 1989, considerable progress has been

achieved at the local, national, regional and global levels in the development of legislation, policies and methodologies to promote the implementation of article 12. A widespread practice has emerged in recent years, which has been broadly conceptualized as “participation”, although this term itself does not appear in the text of article 12. This term has evolved and is now widely used to describe ongoing processes, which include information-sharing and dialogue between children and adults based on mutual respect, and in which children can learn how their views and those of adults are

taken into account and shape the outcome of such processes.

4.

States parties reaffirmed their commitment to the realization of article 12 at the

twenty-seventh special session of the General Assembly on children in 2002.1 However, the Committee notes that, in most societies around the world, implementation of the child’s right to express her or his view on the wide range of issues that affect her or him,

1

Resolution S-27/2 “A world fit for children”,adopted by the General Assembly in 2002.

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