The Commissioner for Human Rights new “Human Rights Comment” points to the many ways in which children’s concerns were neglected during the Covid-19 pandemic in Council of Europe member states. The current opportunity of ‘building back better’ should be seized to give new impetus to Article 12 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC). Since today’s children will bear the consequences of today’s decisions, whether regarding the environment, health policies or post-COVID economic recovery, governments should move away from symbolic approaches to child participation and empower young people to make choices and meaningfully influence their future.
In this respect, it may be reminded that the Council of Europe has devoted major efforts to boosting effective child participation, essentially with the Recommendation CM/Rec(2012)2 on the participation of children and young people under the age of 18 and relevant follow-up activities, including child participation and consultations in standard-setting, monitoring and cooperation activities, as well as in high-level events.
The Children’s Rights Division therefore welcomes the new Comment by the Commissioner which adds to the calls for giving a voice to children and strengthening their right to be heard, thus contributing to the further mainstreaming of child and youth participation across the Organisation.