Another distinguishing feature of the consultations for the Children’s Rights and Business Principles was the value and importance afforded to children to bring their voices to bear on the initiative; and to be key actors informing the process. Their contributions, thoughts and suggestions have been illuminating and inspirational to the Steering Committee.
A Child Participation Strategy was developed by Save the Children and Plan to ensure that children were respected as equal stakeholders and that minimum standards for children’s ethical participation were met.
Consultations were organized with over 400 children, ages 7-17 years, in nine countries: Brazil, Argentina, Philippines, Zambia, Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Senegal, Paraguay and Peru. The children’s experiences as students, workers, consumers, sons, daughters, community members, advocates, rights holders, etc. informed their feedback on issues including what business is; how business affects their lives and rights; what role business has to protect their rights; and more. The children also reviewed the draft Principles and provided detailed recommendations.
The participants included children with disabilities, minority ethnic groups, minority language groups, orphaned children or children without appropriate parental care, children living below the national poverty line, children displaced by natural disaster or conflict, religious minorities and children in exploitative forms of work (e.g., street children, children on the move, former child soldiers) and representatives of working children.
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