Calibrating Children’s Rights to Participate in a Family Setting 30 Years after the Adoption of the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the African Children’s Charter
Efforts to ensure compliance with Article 12 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) and Articles 4(2) and 7 of the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (Children’s Charter), permitting every child the right to participate in all matters affecting a child have reached boiling point in Africa. The reasons for this are plenty and range from the growing interests and development of children’s rights to the increasing visibility of relaxed parental influence. For children, the relaxation of parental influence and the need to accentuate their right to participate in a family setting is essential because decisions that are taken within their families often have an immediate and sometimes lasting impact on their lives. Thirty years after the adoption of the CRC and the Children’s Charter, this article aims to explore the existing cultured literature and models on child participation to propose a new way forward based on a child’s evolving capacity. The article further aims to shine the light on the recognition of a child’s right to participate in a family setting and suggest a model to enable better understanding and implementation of a child’s right to participate in a family setting in Africa. This article is inspired by the CRC Committee’s recognition of the family as one of the leading settings for promoting child participation.
Keywords: Child participation; respect of the views of a child; children’s right to be heard, child autonomy; evolving capacity; the balanced model