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LIMITED ENGAGEMENT OF THE CHILD IN POLITICAL ISSUES: THE RIGHT WHICH EVOLVED AT THE UNIVERSAL LEVEL BUT IS STILL UNACKNOWLEDGED BY MOST REGIONAL INSTRUMENTS

Mariya Riekkinen
Keywords: Children‟s rights, universal participatory standards, participation in decision-making, Convention on the Rights of the Child, regional human rights law ,

Abstract

In 2009 the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child denoted the emergence of the widespread practice, conceptualized broadly as “participation”. Participation of children in the conduct of public affairs is a concept which evolved from the practices of the state parties to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. This concept implies that children have limited opportunities to take part in decision-making processes, concerning those political and public matters which affect their interests. We define what are the ambits of this right as set forth by the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, what are the major problems in its implementation in state parties to this convention, as well as which measures are recommended by the international treaty bodies to implement this right.
Although the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child follows with its regular inquiries, if this right is implemented at the national level in state parties to the CRC, regional organizations are not bound by the provisions of the universal treaties. Keeping in mind that the emergence of any right at the universal level originates in national practices, we pursue also the second major goal, i.e. to check out whether regional human rights law also mentions the right of the child to participation. This article examines whether regional human rights instruments reflect the developments at the universal level of human rights regulation concerning participation of children in political decision-making. Our findings reveal that the scope of childrens‟ participatory rights is the widest at the level of the Council of Europe. Legal regulation of children‟s participatory rights at the level of other regional organizations is rather limited in its scope, if at all exists.