Report, by Sule Uregen, MIDE intern, 17 January 2019

2018 11 20 visuel eOn the 13th and 14th of November 2018, the International Institute for the Rights of the Child, with the support of the City of Geneva, organized meetings on child participation at the Geneva International Conference Centre (CICG), in order to present different experiences of professionals who work with children to discuss their participation, with particular attention to children in vulnerable situations.

Article 12 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child sets out two consubstantial and inseparable requirements: on the one hand, the obligation to listen to the views of the child, and on the other hand, the obligation to take their views into account. To this end, adults have a responsibility to ensure that children are given the opportunity to participate, by giving them the necessary space and time. However, since the Rights of the Child still struggles to establish itself fully and effectively in society, the main challenge remains to give their opinions a real impact, these meetings were an opportunity to exchange on various tools, methods and strategies adapted to children in order to put the right to participate into practice. Dialogue and communication with young people to "create links and trust,” as mentioned by Valais youth delegate Cédric Bonnébault, is undoubtedly the first step towards participation. To this end, it is necessary to set up bodies such as youth councils and to organize meetings with politicians through consultative processes so that these politicians can best understand a child’s expectations and needs and act in their best interests. From drawings, discussion groups, votes, interviews to questionnaires, there are various participation tools and can be adapted to children of all ages.

In this sense, the Speak out! project, for example, was set up by the Swiss Youth Activities Council (CSAJ) and offers a platform to promote the participation of young people without a residence permit and unaccompanied minors. These young people thus have a safe place to meet and exchange with other young people and with experts (lawyers, associations, politicians). This project also gives them the opportunity to make their demands heard by the authorities through workshops dedicated to writing advocacy pieces or newspaper articles, among other things.

Ireland, a leading example of child participation, has 34 local youth councils as well as a national youth parliament. National consultations with children and youth forums are also regularly organized as part of political decision-making. This right is still faced with problems such as adultism, time constraints and the representativeness of the groups of young people consulted. However, the benefits of children participation are substantial. These participatory methods help anchor policies and decision-making processes in the reality of children's lives while promoting citizenship and active inclusion of young people.

Présentations des intervenants et documentation


pdfPaola Riva-Gapany, directrice de l'IDE
pdfBernard Gastaud, membre du CDE
pdfAline Sermet, Réseau suisse des droits de l'enfant
pdfShirley Martin, University College Cork, Irlande
pdfCédric Bonnébault, Délégué à la jeunesse du Valais
pdfGwendoline Guérin, Société de jeunesse de Vionnaz et Observatoire cantonal de la jeunesse
pdfPascale Camus, Doctorante en sciences de l'éducation, Conseillère pédagogique à l'ONE, Belgique
pdfMathilde Hofer, Conseil suisse des activités de jeunesse
pdfViviane Schekter, directrice Relais enfants parents romand
pdfChiona Perruchoud, stagiaire HES au Service cantonal de la jeunesse de Sion
pdfFrançoise Laville-Chappuis, Educatrice spécialisée MCR, Bulle
pdfLéa Meister, Conseil suisse des activités de jeunesse

pdfLectures sur la thématique de la participation

More about IDE's events on November 20.