Child participation and evolving capacities

The Centre's research into the issue of child participation goes back many years, with a Global Seminar on Participatory Development held at the Centre as early as 1990. Child participation - the child's right to be involved in decisions concerning him or her - is a unique aspect of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, enshrined in Article 12. In 2000 the Centre launched research into Article 5 of the Convention, which says that children should receive guidance on their rights in a way that reflects their growing maturity and their progress towards adulthood "in a manner consistent with the evolving capacities of the child". While all the rights in the Convention apply to all children, whether they are babies, toddlers or adolescents, Article 5 acknowledges that their ability to absorb and act on information changes alongside their evolving capacities. What are the practical and programmatic implications of this principle? What does it mean in relation to parental responsibility or to cultural tradition? The study will examine how interpretations of the "evolving capacities of the child" could influence approaches to the implementation of child rights and will contribute to ongoing efforts to show how the Convention balances the rights of children and the rights of parents.

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