2. International directives related to children with disabilities' voices
Both the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCROC) express an expectation that States will seek out and take account of the views of children with disabilities in matters that affect them. In the UNCRPD this is most clear in Article 7 in the following statement:
States parties shall ensure that children with disabilities have the right to express their views freely on all matters affecting them, their views being given due weight in accordance with their age and maturity, on an equal basis with other children, and to be provided with disability and age-appropriate assistance to realise that right. (United Nations, 2006)
Whereas there are three articles in UNCROC that contain relevant sections, these being Article 12,13 and 23:
States Parties shall assure to the child who is capable of forming his or her own views the right to express those views freely in all matters affecting the child, the views of the child being given due weight in accordance with the age and maturity of the child. (Article 12)
The child shall have the right to freedom of expression; this right shall include freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers, either orally, in writing or in print, in the form of art, or through any other media of the child's choice. (Article 13)
States Parties recognise that a mentally or physically disabled child should enjoy a full and decent life, in conditions which ensure dignity, promote self-reliance and facilitate the child's active participation in the community. (Article 23) (United Nations, 1989).
A key intent of the UNCROC document and one that underpins the following content is the need for a child-centred approach to the development of law and policy in all nations to ensure a just society. Putting child-centred thinking central to planning and development is fundamental to achieving this intent.
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