Study of Legal Frameworks Supporting Adolescent Participation in Latin America and the Caribbean

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The present report is the result of the analysis of the legal framework for the rights of adolescents - and particularly of adolescent participation - in eleven countries in Latin America and the Caribbean with UNICEF offices: Barbados, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Guatemala, Honduras, Jamaica, Mexico and Peru. Because participation includes different dimensions and may be recognized in innumerable settings, its recognition varies significantly from country to country. Therefore, this study will seek to identify both the common traits and the differences among the different bodies of legislation, as well as practices that could be replicable in the recognition of the diverse facets of participation. Aside from analysing the legal framework for children and adolescents, the present analysis also incorporates a more succinct sketch of the legal frameworks on the rights of youth, taking as its point of reference the Ibero-American Convention on3the Rights of Youth, the first international treaty to specifically recognize the rights of young persons . This Convention considers young persons as those between 15 and 24 years of age, that is, it also benefits late adolescents (also referring to adolescents between the ages of 15 - 17). As an overview of the contents of the report: Chapter I presents a brief methodological description of the report, its scope and limitations. Chapter II develops the frame of reference on the scope of participation, while offering orientation to the elements considered in evaluating each country in accordance with the parameters of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Chapter III begins the comparative evaluation, starting with the laws on children and adolescents currently in force and their main protection institutions for children’s rights. It also includes a more general analysis of the main instruments and institutions for youth. In the fourth and final chapter the regulation of adolescent participation in legislation on children and adolescents in their different facets, settings and mechanisms is established, in each section stressing the legal provisions that come closest to the normative recommendations of the Committee on the Rights of the Child and the Inter-American Children’s Institute. This chapter also includes the most important provisions on participation in the laws for youth and the laws on education. Finally, a table with the most significant provisions on participation contained in the laws for children and adolescents in the eleven countries analysed throughout this document is annexed.

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