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08.03.2021 - Statements

Non-Discrimination and Children’s Right to Be Heard

Joint Oral Statement on Non-Discrimination and Children’s Right to Be Heard Interactive Segment with the Special Representative of the Secretary General on Violence Against Children

We welcome the Special Representative’s report for documenting the actions of children around the world in claiming their rights, and for providing recommendations to States on how to nurture meaningful and ethical child participation.

This report reaffirms the Special Representative’s ongoing commitment to fulfil children’s right to be heard, both in terms of upholding the imperative set forth in Article 12 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, and as a cornerstone for eliminating violence against children.

Social, economic and political inequalities, exacerbated in the context of the covid pandemic, continue to create obstacles to the fulfilment of children’s rights, especially children’s right to be heard. Too often, children who are marginalised, less visible or less vocal – such as children victims of violence, children on the move, or children in conflict with the law – remain unheard.

Consequently, the principle of non-discrimination must be at the heart of all child participation strategies.

We applaud the Special Representative’s leadership of the follow-up to the Global Study on Children Deprived of Liberty.

This represents an opportunity to reinvigorate actions to empower children in contact with justice systems, who often face multiple and compounding forms of discrimination with respect to race, gender, disability and nationality.

In this regard, we invite Member States to attend the World Congress on Justice with Children1, scheduled for November 2021. With a focus on non-discriminatory access to justice for children and a dedicated child & youth participation strategy, the Congress is an opportunity to accelerate progress on inclusion as part and parcel of fulfilling children’s rights and building back better from the pandemic.

This statement is signed by 3 NGOs :
- Terre des hommes International Federation
- Penal Reform International
- Defence for Children International


1 Registration will be available via :


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