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.

The Council of Europe Child Participation Assessment Tool provides specific and measurable indicators to measure progress in implementing the Recommendation on the participation of children and young people under the age of 18.

With the help of this tool, which was successfully tested in Estonia, Ireland and Romania, governments can ensure that children and young people within their countries can exercise their right to be heard, to be taken seriously and to participate in decision making in all matters affecting them.

States that are interested in using the Assessment Tool are invited to contact the Children’s Rights Division to express their interest.

Child Participation Assessment Tool

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“Boosting child and youth participation – from voice to choice” – New Human Rights Comment by Commissioner Dunja Mijatović

12 July 2021 Strasbourg

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...

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Launch of the new European Union - Council of Europe joint Project CP4EUROPE

Europe gets ready to strengthen national child participation frameworks and action

1 April 2021 Strasbourg

Today in the framework of the European Commission’s Rights, Equality and Citizenship Programme (REC), the Children’s Rights Division of the Council of Europe and its Partners from the Czech Republic, Finland, Iceland, Portugal and Slovenia, have launched the new EU-CoE joint Project “CP4EUROPE -...

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“Listen – Act – Change”: launch of a new Council of Europe guide on children’s participation

15 January 2021 Strasbourg

At the beginning of this new year, we are pleased to remind you of the launch of our new publication to take place on Thursday, 21 January 2021: the Council of Europe Handbook on children’s participation “Listen – Act – Change” - a tool for all professionals working for and with children across...

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“Strengthening civil society participation in the implementation and monitoring of the Lanzarote Convention” conference report

12 August 2019 Strasbourg

On 8-9 April 2019, an international conference on “Strengthening civil society participation in the implementation and monitoring of the Lanzarote Convention” gathered representatives from over 35 civil society organisations (CSOs), active in 20 member states of the Council of Europe in...

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Opportunity to coordinate child participation at the next Council of Europe Children’s Rights conference

18 July 2019 Strasbourg

The Council of Europe is holding a call for applications from international NGOs / international consultants to prepare, coordinate and implement child participation at its upcoming Children’s Rights conference. The conference will mark the mid-term evaluation of the Council of Europe Strategy...

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