Article 12: The child's opinion


  1. States 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.
  2. 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

Children have the right to be heard in all matters affecting them - this is a prerequisite for guaranteeing all their other rights. In most societies, though, decisions are taken which have an impact on children's lives - in court, at home and at school and in politics - in which they are not consulted when adults would be. The arguments used to deny children a voice today are the same as those used to suppress women's views in the past (and present in some cases).