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Global Classroom - Right to participate

Every child has the right to express her or his point of view
(Article 12)

If you’re under 18 years of age, your voice matters. The Convention on the Rights of the Child is an international law that Canada has promised to uphold. It requires decision makers to listen to your views. It also guarantees participation rights, which means that you have a say in the decisions that affect you.

Sabrina Chaoui, a Canadian delegate attending the 2009 Children’s Climate Forum, shows her love for our planet!

UNICEF Canada provides opportunities for youth to actively participate in debating the issues that concern them, and make decisions that will change our world for the better.

Young people from around the globe met at the 2009 Children’s Climate Forum in Copenhagen to discuss climate change and how all of us can work together to combat its effects. 164 children from 44 countries prepared a statement for world leaders attending the UN Climate Change Conference (COP15) – giving young people a voice on the world stage.

Sabrina Chaoui, shown above, was one of the Canadian delegates who took part in this transformative experience. Like many of the other young people who attended, she continues to work to make our world a better place. See some of the projects these young people are working on at

What can I do?

As a student, I can:

  • Organize a discussion about issues that matter to youth. Invite those I think should be part of the discussion - parents, teachers, administrators. Try to make the discussion fun, creative and productive.
  • Talk with my fellow students about what we like and what we would like to change at our school and then talk to our teachers about ways that we can become more involved in decisions made at the school.
  • Take action on the local, national or global issues that interest me by joining with other like-minded young people.

    Note: If you are a college or university student, you can take part by joining the UNICEF on campus programme.

As a teacher, I can:

  • Provide opportunities for every learner to voice their opinions without fear of criticism by creating a safe climate in my classroom and by providing opportunities for students to participate in decisions about school life.
  • Introduce children to global citizenship through a children’s rights lens by teaching the concept of rights and providing regular opportunities to support children to take action for their rights and those of others.
  • Help my students develop critical literacy skills, including digital/media literacy skills, so they can become critical consumers of the images and messages conveyed by the media and other information sources. This will also help them to better protect themselves online and respect the rights of others as responsible ‘digital’ citizens.
  • Access more inclusive classroom ideas here.

As a parent, I can:

  • Encourage my children to express their feelings and become more involved in family decision-making.
  • Create activities where my children can take the lead.
  • Always ask my children’s opinions on matters affecting them.
  • Talk to my child or children about how they feel about expressing themselves at their school, and if there are ways that I can support them in their efforts to make their voice heard.

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