What children would do if they were in charge in Australia
In the lead up to National Children’s Week, Save the Children Australia asked children and young people across Australia what they would do for children if they were in charge of the country. National Children’s Week (20th -28th of October 2012) is a week that for us at Save the Children celebrates the contribution children make to the community and every child’s right to enjoy their youth. We believe that listening to children is an important part of developing children’s policy and legislation. Every day, decisions are made that affect children and too often no attempt is made to explain or prepare children for the consequences of these decisions. This video outlines what children think is important and what changes children want the Australian government to make.
Children’s right to be heard and to be taken seriously is a crucial and also visionary provision of the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
Article 12 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child states:
“State Parties shall assure to the child who is capable of forming his or her 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.”
“For this purpose, the child shall in particular be provided the opportunity to be heard in any judicial and administrative proceedings affecting the child, either directly, or through a representative or an appropriate body, in a manner consistent with the procedural rules of national law.”
The experience of being hit, humiliated, threatened, beaten and raped denies children’s human dignity. Being respected and having the right to free expression and opportunities to influence and make decisions are powerful antidotes to violence against children.
Children can no longer be perceived as passive recipients of care and protection, or accidental beneficiaries of policy decisions; they cannot be envisaged as not yet persons or adults in the making. Attention must be paid to their inner feelings, thoughts and views.
Ending violence against children and ensuring children’s right to be heard and taken seriously are strongly related because both depend upon perceiving and respecting children as people and holders of fundamental human rights. A child who experiences violence is not being respected. Governments who refuse to give children the same protection from violence as adults are rejecting the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which recognizes the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family.
Coherent and systematic approaches to children’s rights address all parts of the Convention, embracing its progressive human rights-based vision of children and childhood as well as its detailed legal obligations.