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Vikidia:Relation to the Rights of the Child

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This page aims to point out the prescriptions and rights stated by the 1989 Convention on the Rights of the Child to which Vikidia may answer.

This text is available on Wikisource and on the website of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.

The convention deals with diverse themes, since this text was written from diverse influences or legacy, such as article on children protection, article promoting for more school education, those referring to friendship among all peoples or respect for the natural environment. It doesn't only deal with protection and formal education but with positive liberties or cultural rights. On some points, this nearly 25 years old text sheds light on topics that are scarcely existent in current speech or thinking, all the same having the authority of an international treaty.

The articles that may be of interest for our case are among those called positive liberties and participation rights. They inherit notably from Janusz Korczak's work (his country Poland having presented the first version of the convention) and may be part of a wider movement of progressive education. Here are the subjects that may concern Vikidia, the corresponding articles and how they can be — or are — implemented here.

Information and documentary material[edit | edit source]

The vast majority of the Vikidia users are only readers and the website provides them a decent (and appreciated) corpus of material and knowledge. Therefore, it may answer the demands stated in the article 17 on mass media in the field of online encyclopedia (a specific kind of content next to books, radio, television content...).

Article 17

States Parties recognize the important function performed by the mass media and shall ensure that the child has access to information and material from a diversity of national and international sources, especially those aimed at the promotion of his or her social, spiritual and moral well-being and physical and mental health.
To this end, States Parties shall:
(a) Encourage the mass media to disseminate information and material of social and cultural benefit to the child and in accordance with the spirit of article 29;
(b) Encourage international co-operation in the production, exchange and dissemination of such information and material from a diversity of cultural, national and international sources;
(c) Encourage the production and dissemination of children's books;
(d) Encourage the mass media to have particular regard to the linguistic needs of the child who belongs to a minority group or who is indigenous;
(e) Encourage the development of appropriate guidelines for the protection of the child from information and material injurious to his or her well-being, bearing in mind the provisions of articles 13 and 18.

Freedom of expression and information[edit | edit source]

Article 13

1. The child shall have the right to freedom of expression; this right shall include freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers, either orally, in writing or in print, in the form of art, or through any other media of the child's choice.
2. The exercise of this right may be subject to certain restrictions, but these shall only be such as are provided by law and are necessary:
(a) For respect of the rights or reputations of others; or
(b) For the protection of national security or of public order (ordre public), or of public health or morals.

The functioning of this wiki is collaborative, similarly the Wikipedia model, and has both the aim and actual functioning to let children and teenagers be involved in building its content. In that way, it certainly sticks to this article that states not only the right to receive but to seek, and impart information.

Expression of the views and children's participation[edit | edit source]

Article 12

1. States Parties shall assure to the child who is capable of forming his or her own views the right to express those views freely in all matters affecting the child, the views of the child being given due weight in accordance with the age and maturity of the child.
2. For this purpose, the child shall in particular be provided the opportunity to be heard in any judicial and administrative proceedings affecting the child, either directly, or through a representative or an appropriate body, in a manner consistent with the procedural rules of national law.

It is usually said that "Wikipedia is not a democracy". Likewise the functioning of Vikidia is led by its purpose towards the readers; this purpose as well as the action for its good functioning prevail over a pure democracy game. However its organisation is structured or institutionalized in a way that often gives to any participant the opportunity to have his voice heard and to take part in the decisions whatever be his age. This is following both the pattern of the best known wiki, but also the principle and implementation of the children's republics (such as the ones implemented by Korczak) and patterns of the institutional pedagogy. The article 12 certainly doesn't focus on such a specific organisation, but what it states can be felt as neighbouring this organisational model.

Freedom of association[edit | edit source]

As an organization in which children take an active part, Vikidia answers in a way the article 15.

Article 15

1. States Parties recognize the rights of the child to freedom of association and to freedom of peaceful assembly.
2. No restrictions may be placed on the exercise of these rights other than those imposed in conformity with the law and which are necessary in a democratic society in the interests of national security or public safety, public order (ordre public), the protection of public health or morals or the protection of the rights and freedoms of others.

Translated from fr:Vikidia:Droits de l'enfant et Vikidia