Versita

PUBLIC PARTICIPATION OF CHILDREN: FOUNDATIONS AND A REVIEW OF RUSSIAN LEGAL PRACTICES UNDER THE CONVENTION ON THE RIGHTS OF THE CHILD

Mariya Riekkinen
Keywords: Children in public decision-making, consideration of children‟s views, political rights, children‟s parliaments, children‟s councils, children‟s associations, local assemblies ,

Abstract

Public participation or active engagement in deliberation of political agenda sets up the citizens‟ „will‟ to determine the outcomes of political decisions. Hereby various subgroups have a chance to claim their particular interests to avoid being bypassed in the overwhelming mass of even a benevolent majority. Children as a very particular subgroup lack political standing. This leaves a shadow on the democratic backbone of human rights law advocating for free and equal consensual will-formation. Not appealing to the reduction of voting age, it is suggested that children can influence public affairs in other ways than adults do. This question is especially relevant for Russia where the Soviet-era denial of children‟s legal personality still echoes in the statutory law, challenging their meaningful involvement in public decision-making. Russian legal practices regarding children‟s participation are examined through state reports and Concluding Observations of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child. The author utilizes provisions of Russian statutory law and its application to match the participatory picture drawn in the official reports with the Russian legal reality.