City children stand up for the right to give their opinion and be heard

The Children’s Proclamation regained its face-to-face format to fill Plaça Sant Jaume with youngsters who have been reflecting on their right to freely give their opinion and be heard. Nearly 700 pupils in their 3rd, 4th, 5th or 6th year of primary school and special education from 21 schools helped draft the text.

10/02/2023 14:51 h

Ajuntament de Barcelona

This year’s Children’s Proclamation comes within the context of Barcelona recently being named as the first European Capital of Democracy. In November, the children were tasked with reflecting on the right to give an opinion freely and the capacity to form an opinion about matters which they consider affect them, as well as active listening regarding other opinions, through tolerance and respect.

The ceremony signalled the start of the city’s winter festival, Santa Eulalia, which runs until Sunday, 12 February.

You can read the Children’s Proclamation here:

A string of schools working day and night under the slogan “children have our say”, we’ve learnt we have the right to our opinion and to be heard, and we’ve decided to make our voice heard everywhere.

We want to shout and have our say;
we have a right to be heard.
This speech will show that,
and we’ll be as strong as giants.

All the children in the city
need to be heard.
Together we want freedom
and the right to our opinion.

Freedom of expression
means children having their opinion.
Feelings and ideas for expression
without fear or hesitation.

We children have the right to be heard,
to give our opinion;
not to be discriminated against
for our thoughts, language or religion.

We children want to express ourselves,
to be able to give our opinion.
We want to have our say,
properly spoken and with respect!

“Our opinion should be respected”,
we ask of adults who wish to listen to us.
If all children are bolder
we can make the world much better.

We children can also choose
and we should be respected.
Why keep quiet?
We all have a right to give our opinion.

We’ve discussed in depth what it means to give our opinion and we don’t want to do it lightly. We need: to be well informed, to think, check our facts and be able to communicate.

To be able to give our opinion
we need to really think things through.
We need to think properly what we’re like
and respect everybody.

We can have our say on everything,
but others must also know how to listen.
It’s important to have information;
our reasons for a stronger argument.

We children want to participate,
but we need your attention
and to be better informed
so our opinion is respected.

If we want to improve the world
children and young people must help.
Through thought, we should give our ideas,
and then be able to explain them.

Children have the right to talk,
they’re very important and we must respect them.
Children can express themselves
but politely without insults.

One of our rights is to have an opinion.
Nobody can deny that.
This involves respect
and accepting criticism.

We children are amazing,
because we’re thinking heads.
We use our brains and
we’ll make Barcelona a better place.

We continue this proclamation announcing that respect for all opinions must be present absolutely everywhere.

Everybody has the right to an opinion,
even the world’s children.
All opinions are always valid
if we all give them with respect.

We children have the right to an opinion,
but our obligation is also to listen.
If we respect all perspectives
others will never be unfair.

It doesn’t matter where I’m from,
I can give my opinion when I want.
We have plenty of freedoms,
we are very fortunate.

Let yourself soar to give your opinion.
There are things we want to say!
Assertively, we say what we think,
and we respect everybody.

If you want respect, you have to respect.
If you want to speak you have to socialise.
Express yourself freely,
live life happily.

If we give our opinion respectfully,
the world will be a better place.
Children’s voices are very important,
and today we stand up for this, young and old.

We all have the right
to listen and be listened to.
To look after the world,
let’s respect opinions.

But what would be the point of giving an opinion if nobody wanted to listen to us? We want to have our say and we’ll do everything we can to make our voice heard everywhere!

In Barcelona we want to decide
to be free to give our opinion.
If you don’t listen to us when we speak
we’ll all be out to demonstrate.

Opinion is our choice,
freedom brings happiness.
We can decide how to speak
and put an end to all wars.

Don’t take it too lightly:
minors must have an opinion.
Don’t think too long and hard about it,
we can all collaborate.

We children want to give our opinion
so our voice gets heard.
Listen to our ideas
and we’ll make the world a better place.

We like going to school,
because we learn and that’s cool.
We have rights, us kids,
to play at being in charge.

We children have our say
but the responsibility is yours.
We want a fair and liveable city,
we want a clean and friendly city.

We want a less polluted city,
cleaner and well cared for.
A sustainable Barcelona with more parks,
with a frightening amount of greenery.

You need to let us speak,
and let us play too.
We need to show ourselves
to be able to take part.

We mustn’t be afraid,
as we all have an opinion.
Children from across the country,
always ready for commitment.

And to conclude this proclamation, we would like to thank the teachers who have supported the children in classrooms and on social media in the process to write and read out these words, as well as everybody wishing to listen to them.

We leave you with the words from the opening speech for the annual festival by the Catalan poet Josep M. Sala-Valldaura, who has written for young and old…

gegants i firetes:
gresca xalesta
de bruixa maduixa,
visca la festa!

The city through the eyes of 10,000 children

The Children’s Proclamation is an initiative which first appeared in 2004, to initiate children in participatory processes based on joint responsibility and active citizenship, and to introduce them to political institutions and citizen participation in Barcelona. Nearly 10,000 pupils have taken part in the activity since the first edition.


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