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Article 12 of the UN Convention on the Rights of Children

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Where Have We Come from, Where Are We Now and Where to from Here?

This article examines the context surrounding the creation of the UN Convention on the Rights of Children, focusing primarily on Article 12, and explains the importance of children having a voice in all matters affecting them. An analysis of the application of Article 12 in the New Zealand courts demonstrates that more work is required to ensure children are full participants in the judicial process, especially considering the ways children’s rights and voices have been unduly constrained by the new Family Dispute Resolution process introduced in 2014. The article also explores the fundamental importance of the involvement of children in political matters affecting them, focusing on a recent Australian model involving Aboriginal children and young people and recommends a reduction in the New Zealand voting age to ensure children and young people have a real voice in political matters and that Article 12 truly fulfils its potential.

Affiliations: 1: Faculty of Law, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand,


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