Children have the right to be heard and have a say in all decisions affecting them, be that at home, in the community, at school or in individual legal and administrative matters. The Council of Europe places participation of children at the core of its children’s rights agenda. Child participation is a key strategic objective the promotion of children’s rights and also a cross cutting approach that is mainstreamed into the organisation’s standard-setting, monitoring and sector specific work.
The Council of Europe Recommendation on participation of children and young people under the age of 18 was developed following comprehensive reviews of the reality of child participation in a number of member states and with the direct involvement of children in the work of the drafting Committee. The recommendation covers the rights of children and young people to be heard in all settings, including in schools, in communities and in the family as well as at the national and European level. It also contains guidelines member states are encouraged to follow in implementing the Recommendation such as protecting children and young people’s right to participate, promoting and informing children and young people about participation, and creating spaces for participation.
The Recommendation recognises Article 12 (respect for the views of the child) both as a fundamental right and as a general principle of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. It further recognises that Article 12 is linked to all other articles of the UNCRC.