Thursday, March 25, 2010

These days Newsround seems rather reticent about having much to do with the UK children's commissioners. They didn't report when Keith Towler took up his position as the Welsh Commissioner in 2008. Nor did they have anything to say when Maggie Atkinson took over from Sir Al Aynsley-Green as the Commissioner for England earlier this month. You'd think that a kids news programme would cover exactly that kind of information. And perhaps they would also have a regular spot where the Commissioners would be invited to advise about young people's problems and issues. That might be the kind of thing an organisation committed to empowering kids would be thinking of...

In July 2002, UNICEF's Adolescent Development and Participation Unit commissioned the Commonwealth Youth Programme to prepare a toolkit on promoting meaningful children’s and young people’s participation based on lessons learnt by UNICEF country programmes around the world. Check out this pdf document, published by the Commonwealth Secretariat, which looks at the benefits and reasons for youth participation. It opens with the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) Article 12(i):

States Parties shall assure to the child who is capable of forming his 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.

Participation is a right which should not be unreasonably denied. To that end Global Youth Participation Week (GYPW) is planned to take place during the International Year of Youth. See also this facebook page where people can post ideas on ways to make sure young people’s voices are heard in local communities.

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