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Press Centre (6/2010)

2010/06/16 - Convention on the Rights of the Child General Comment No. 12:


UNICEF and Save the Children organised a cross regional consultation for Government officials on field-testing the Handbook on General Comment No. 12 on 16 June 2010 in Istanbul. UNICEF brought together 35 Government representatives from 9 countries - Azerbaijan, Lebanon, Oman, occupied Palestine territory, Kazakhstan, Syrian Arab Republic, Tunisia, Turkey and United Arab Emirates. The Government representatives came from various Ministries such as the Ministry of Education, Ministry of Youth, Presidential Administration, Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Child Welfare, Ministry of Cultural Affairs, and Ministry of Health.
Convention on the Rights of the Child General Comment No. 12:
Consultation Participants

UNICEF and Save the Children organised a cross regional consultation for Government officials on field-testing the Handbook on General Comment No. 12 on 16 June 2010 in Istanbul. UNICEF brought together 35 Government representatives from 9 countries - Azerbaijan, Lebanon, Oman, occupied Palestine territory, Kazakhstan, Syrian Arab Republic, Tunisia, Turkey and United Arab Emirates. The Government representatives came from various Ministries such as the Ministry of Education, Ministry of Youth, Presidential Administration, Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Child Welfare, Ministry of Cultural Affairs, and Ministry of Health.


"Children and young people’s participation is becoming increasingly recognised as a basic human right for all children to contribute to their overall well-being and development as well as to ensure that all their rights are respected and fulfilled. With the adoption of the General Comment on Article 12 by the Committee of the Rights of the Child last year, Governments have now been provided with specific guidelines on how to promote meaningful children and young people’s participation in their policies and programmes. This consultation of government representatives from CEE-CIS and MENA regions on the Handbook on GC Art 12 has been a major contribution to this process to support Governments in promoting this basic human rights for all children" Victor Karunan, Chief Adolescent Development and Participation (ADAP)

The General Comment on Article 12 was finally adopted by the Committee on the Rights of the Child in May 2009, and published in July 2009. The General Comment provides governments with a detailed overview on ‘what’ their obligations are. Save the Children and UNICEF jointly supported the development of a handbook for governments on ‘how’ to implement the General Comment. Using the structure of the General Comment as a framework, the handbook will elaborate the practical application of the obligations to ensure that children are afforded the right to be heard and their views given due weight in accordance with their age and maturity. 

Vivian Lopez, ADAP, Advisor, Middle East & North African Region closing the meeting remarked “This consultation offered a number of countries the opportunity to provide concrete feedback on the handbook, ensuring its relevance for governments and future application for more meaningful participation of children and adolescents in local and national development processes. It represents an important step forward in realising these rights for children and adolescents in MENA.” 

A series of consultations will be conducted with children and young people groups in Istanbul to solicit children’s views on their expectations from Governments on role and support of Government in strengthening participation. This will help further strengthen the handbook. 

“However intense our commitment to child participation, when it comes to getting engaged we have not been strategic. The discussion on the General Comment on Art. 12 gave us the opportunity to ‘rethink’ child participation in terms of concrete actions in different settings. Some brilliant examples were shared on how child participation can be embedded in broader policy reform work and partnership building. Moreover, the meeting created opportunities for an increased cooperation amongst governments from CEE/CIS and MENA region,” noted Regina De Dominicis, Deputy Representative, UNICEF Turkey.

The meeting also resulted in development of action plans for furthering child participation at the country levels. The workshop was facilitated by Gerison Lansdown Child Participation Expert and Ravi Karkara, Specialist Child and Adolescent Participation. 

Gerison Lansdown the author of the Handbook and a highly respected Child Participation Expert said in her closing remarks “we have come a long way in 20 years since the CRC was adopted by the UN in 1989. At that time the concept of child participation was unheard of in most countries in the world. The high level of the delegations who participated in the consultation, and their level of commitment to the realisation of children’s right to participate, are powerful indicators of the progress that has been made.’

For further details, please contact Ravi Karkara, Specialist, Child and Young People's Participation at (rkarkara@unicef.org).

UNICEF Turkey Country Office, Yukarı Dikmen Mah. Alexsander Dubçek Cd. 7/106, 06450 Çankaya/Ankara. Telephone: +90 312 454 1000 Fax: +90 312 496 1461 E-mail: ankara@unicef.org