translated from Spanish: Children’s Advocacy “regretted” child appearance in electoral strip

The Ombudsman’s Office of Children, led by Patricia Muñoz, issued this Friday a public statement in which he regretted the appearance of a minor, making a finger gesture, in the electoral strip by the “People’s List”. In this regard he argued that “the participation of children and adolescents, in any instance in which they want to be, must always be free and voluntary, avoiding being unduly influenced by adults, allowing it to be a faithful reflection of their opinion and voice, because of their age, stage of development and maturity.” The principles for effective participation of children and adolescents arise from the Convention on the Rights of the Child, and are structured around the generation of adequate spaces, where their voice is respected and heard by those who must make the decisions that affect them. This participation should, in addition to always being voluntary, allow them to have full, inclusive, safe, responsible information and must prevent and avoid exposing them to risks when participating,” he added. In this sense, and even though there is no assent and consent for participation, the NNA and its responsible adult, respectively, “participation can be considered inappropriate or detrimental to its harmonious and integral development, which is why it is essential that before promoting the public appearance of a child or adolescent, in the media or social networks, the impact that it will have on its life is weighed, taking as its sole primary consideration its best interests and the effective protection of all its rights, avoiding consequences, immediate or future, that affect its vital development”, he added. In this context, he stated that “considering the unfortunate appearance of a child, making a finger gesture against one of the options of the newly passed plebiscite (…) as a Child Defender’s Office, we make a special and urgent call to this List, and to all nominations in the country, to respect and promote the rights of children and adolescents.” Avoiding exhibiting them by executing actions that unduly expose them to public questions, to avoid passing on sad hatreds that as adults we often do not avoid in our relationships and thus effectively commit themselves to their harmonious and integral development, without imposing conceptions or actions of their own ages other than those that are transiting, assuring them the effective exercise of their right to participate, but with strict safeguarding to their right to privacy, image and honor,” he said. Finally, he concluded by saying that “as a Child Advocate we expect and trust that every adult seeking to hold a public office of popular choice has an effective and real commitment to the human rights of children and adolescents and, consequently, does not instrumentalize or use them, in any way, for the purposes of adult interests far from which they and they may have and/or express.”

Original source in Spanish

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