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CNDH promotes children’s participation in decision-making

The National Human Rights Council (CNDH) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) co-organized a national consultation meeting on 16 December 2017 in Rabat, Morocco.

This meeting wrapped up 13 regional consultations with children which were held during this year aiming to interact with children on their perceptions about their future and to allow them to freely express their opinions and expectations from the CNDH.

This meeting was an opportunity to shed light on the principle of children’s participation in decision-making and to involve them in the implementation of the process of the redress mechanism for children victims of human rights violations.

Speaking at the opening of the meeting, Mr. Driss El Yazami stressed that this event aimed to promote the principle of participation in decision-making which should be taken into consideration by other institutions. This meeting was an opportunity for the CNDH to develop adequate tools to work on children’s rights. It is important to consider local specificities in the implementation of any project related to children access to their rights, he added.

Moreover, he said that the joint action plan signed between the CNDH and the UNICEF (2017-2018) aims at setting up the redress mechanism for children victims of human rights violations. This structure will be hosted by the CNDH and will strengthen national capacities for independent monitoring and reporting on children’s rights in Morocco.

Mrs. Regina De Dominicis, UNICEF representative in Morocco, pointed out that the right to participate is an essential right in the UN Convention on the Right of the Child (CRC). These consultations were the basis of respecting this right as stated by Article 12 of the CRC. She also called children to seize this opportunity because, fortunately, this right is also recognized in the Moroccan Constitution.

Mr. Khalid El Hanfioui, human rights officer at the CNDH, underlined the importance of interacting with children to involve them in the establishment of the CNDH’s redress mechanism for children victims of human rights violations. During these consultations, Mr. El Hanfioui noted that children prioritized the quality of education in public schools and that they raised concerns about discrimination in access to health and education especially by vulnerable groups (migrants, children with disabilities and girls in rural areas…). The CNDH representative also added that children were questioning the usefulness of their opinions and recommendations in practice.

To be noted that the CRC, which formally and explicitly acknowledges these rights for children for the first time in international law, also introduces an additional dimension to the status of children by recognizing that children are subjects of rights, rather than merely recipients of adult protection. The Article 12 insists on the ‘visibility’ of children in their own right. This Article requires beginning to listen to what children say and to take them seriously.