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  • Universal Children's Day: Commissioner Hammarberg calls for child-friendly societies

    Warsaw 20.11.2007 - On the occasion of the universal children's day, the Council of Europe's Commissioner for Human Rights, Thomas Hammarberg called for "a culture of greater receptivity and respect for children's views" during a lecture in Warsaw about child participation.

    The Commissioner underlined that "children have the right to be heard and adults should listen to their views". Child participation, which is a right recognised by the Convention on the Rights of the Child, should take place at every stage of life, in family, in schools as well as in the community. "Children's capacity to express freely their views is a precondition for their development" he said.

    The Commissioner stressed that children should be involved in on all matters that affect their lives, adding that "decision making bodies should organise a system where children have the possibility to express their views. This concerns national Governments, Parliaments, local and regional authorities, as well as international organisations".

    Since media plays an increasing role in our society, "the media also have a key role in making children's views known to the public at large." Mr Hammarberg also added that "mass media could do more to inform children in a way which is appropriate to their age".

    The lecture, the first of a cycle of three, was dedicated to Janusz Korczak, considered as one of the fathers of children's rights, and took place in the former orphanage that Mr Korczak created before the Second World War.

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