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  4. June 2011 - Volume Vol. 64
  5. Beyond the Right to be Heard

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FOCUS June 2011 Volume Vol. 64

Beyond the Right to be Heard


Children’s participation rights include the right to freedom of expression, thought, conscience and religion, freedom of association and peaceful assembly, the right to privacy, the right to have access to information, and the right to participate freely in cultural life and the arts.
The idea that children should be heard and that they, like adults, have this range of civil and political freedoms, and economic, social and cultural rights presents a challenge not just to governments but to every family and every adult in society.
For years, many children, including and especially those in very challenging circumstances, have strived for recognition of their presence, and for respect for their dignity, their competency, and their agency as human beings. They work hard and show by experience their capacity to act responsibly and be part, even lead the process of change in their lives, and in the lives of their families and communities.
There is still a long, long way to go before majority of Asian children could be truly heard and considered in decisions made about their lives and there is even a longer way ahead before children’s meaningful participation becomes real in every aspect of society. The real life stories though of children and the way they have influenced positive social changes in the past and in the present serve as our starting points, and as the beacons in the long journey.