General Comment No. 7

Indicator Set 1: Dissemination of GC7

Adults and children alike must know their rights in order to exercise them. General Comment No. 7 (article 2) reminds States parties of their obligation under article 42 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child to take appropriate and active steps to make both adults and children more aware of the principles and provisions of the CRC. Ways to raise awareness include educational curricula, public education/training, conferences, media/press briefings and professional training.

States parties are under international obligation to show that they are committing both human and financial resources to educating their citizens about childhood rights. They are required to enact both policies and practices, following the guidance presented in GC7.

What is termed “active dissemination” includes not only raising awareness and implementation of child rights principles by government officials but also educational efforts should aim to inform and guide all duty bearers, including parents, caregivers, professionals and policy-makers.

Raising awareness of GC7 reinforces a rights-based understanding of early childhood and young children. A rights-based understanding requires, for example, that governments include young children as active social participants, as rights holders entitled to an opinion on processes that affect their development.

As well, a rights-based understanding promotes understanding of the “evolving capacities” of a young child as an “enabling principle” (GC7 para. 17). It encourages increased government services to support young children and demands that such services be accountable.

In line with States parties’ obligations under article 42, governments are expected to provide the required baseline levels of awareness about GC7. They must also demonstrate that their educational efforts have increased awareness of child rights in general and young children’s rights specifically.

Key Question: With respect to obligations under article 42 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, what measures have been taken by your government to disseminate and promote a rights-based understanding with respect to young children and to assess the impact on knowledge and practice of such “dissemination” processes?