Promoting Children’s Participation in Democratic Decision-making

In this Innocenti Insight, Gerison Lansdown examines the meaning of Article 12 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which says that children are entitled to participate in the decisions that affect them. Lansdown takes a close look at the full meaning of this Article as a tool that can help children themselves to challenge abuses of their rights and take action to defend those rights. She also stresses what the Article does not do. It does not, for example, give children the right to ride roughshod over the rights of others, particularly parents. The Insight makes a strong case for listening to children, outlining the implications of failing to do so and challenging many of the arguments that have been levelled against child participation. It is, above all, a practical guide to this issue, with clear checklists for child participation in conferences and many concrete examples of recent initiatives.