The right of all children to be heard and taken seriously should be understood in the broadest possible sense: states that have signed the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UN CRC) must give due weight to children’s views in accordance with their age and maturity.
In its General Comment No. 12 on realising children’s right to be heard, the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child provided clarifications and recommendations to guide state parties in implementing this right in a variety of settings and situations. The right of the child to be heard and have his or her views taken into account (participation), which is outlined in article 12 of the UN CRC, is a right possessed both by every individual child and by children in a group, as at a day-care centre, for instance. It also constitutes one of the four general principles of the UN CRC, the others being the primary consideration of the child’s best interests, children's right to life and development and the right to non-discrimination. This underscores the fact that in addition to being understood as establishing a right in itself, article 12 should be considered in the interpretation and implementation of all other children’s rights.
The National CRC Monitoring Mechanism integrates children and adolescents in its work in areas where data providing information about the views of children are not available. In light of the experiences gathered in its work thus far, the National CRC Monitoring Mechanism has already held two consultations with civil society, in part in the format of events run jointly with children and adolescents. In connection with its 2nd Civil Society Consultation, which took place in 2016, preparative workshops with young people were held right in their immediate environments.