Children in Hong Kong not given meaningful ways to participate in policy-making, says rights group

  • Committee on Children’s Rights commissioned a study to examine if children had a voice in guiding the direction of the city
  • Preliminary findings found many government efforts were one-off events
Wong Tsui-kai |

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A Hong Kong children’s rights advocacy group has found opportunity is lacking for youth participation in policy making and guiding the direction of the city.

The Hong Kong Committee on Children’s Rights commissioned a study headed by Chinese University Faculty of Law Professor Anne Scully-Johnson to examine if children have meaningful avenues to express their views in society. They also examined their rights in Hong Kong with reference to Article 12, Children’s Right to be Heard of the Convention on the Rights of the Child in Hong Kong.

The report found participation was not always meaningful and were sometimes insincere or manipulative .

Billy Wong, the Committee’s Executive Secretary explained to Young Post the study was the first baseline study to map the implementation of Article 12. “Most of the efforts were one-off events,” she said. “There is no cultivation of children’s participation.”

Secondary school students debate children’s rights in Hong Kong at Teen Talk

Wong pointed out that current social conflicts made it even more important for the government to listen to and communicate with children. “The government made earlier efforts but they seem to have stopped this year,” she said. “They can’t just keep the doors closed, that would only make things worse.”

She advocated making the Commission on Children an independent statutory body and giving children some means to participate directly in it as a key initiative in adding voices of youth to policy making.

“It is unreasonable that young people can’t participate in it and it is all adults talking.”

“Lots of NGOs are trying, but the government needs to lead the efforts. Right now there needs to be more contact and communication [with the government].”

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