H.E. Hajia Aisha Ismail, who led the Nigerian delegation to the historic event of the United Nations’ General Assembly Special Session on Children, applauded Child Participation as follows: “…And therefore, the children of today are the adults of tomorrow. That is why Nigeria welcomes the participation of children in this special session. We salute their representatives here and assure them that we value their contributions to our deliberation…”
The CRC and rights to participation: The right of the child to participate is not only covered by the resolution of the Special Session of the General Assembly of the UN, referred to above, it is also discernable from the provisions of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, 1989 to which Nigeria is a signatory. I make reference to one of the Articles, namely:
Article 12 (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.
Child Protection and Child Participation linked: It is my humble opinion that one of the primary responsibilities of children is self-protection in instances where it is practically impossible for primary and secondary custodians to intervene or where the custodians become the abusers.
Please note that phrase, ‘in all matters affecting the child’ (referred to in the UNICEF definition and provisions of the Convention on the Rights of the Child) envisages issues of abuse also. It simply means children must as a matter of necessity and in accordance to their age and maturity must be involved at both private and public levels in formulating and implementing policies concerning child protection.
If children must play informed and active roles in the formulation and implementation of child protection policies at the private and public levels, he must be empowered through education.
I think I should sign out here. Thank you for visiting today. Sure you learnt one or two things on how to Think the CHILD…Think TODAY and Think the FUTURE.
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