Global knowledge of the experience and perspectives of displaced children is limited. Much of the knowledge is researcher-centred and does not reflect the perspectives of the children, other documentary evidence is anecdotal. Based on the author's previous experience and secondary sources in Sri Lanka, Thailand and Peru, this paper examines some of the key questions and issues regarding the participation of refugee and displaced children in societal and programmatic processes. It begins by reviewing some of the structural, operational and conceptual reasons why children's participation is, as a rule, highly restricted in refugee and displaced communities, and concludes by considering some recent development in the field. It includes examples from Cambodia, Laos, South Africa, Rwanda, Bosnia and Kosovo.