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Welsh Government responds to General Comment on Article 31 news 06-02-2013

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Wales continues to lead the way on children’s right to play

A United Nations Committee has ratified and published a general comment on Article 31 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) which highlights the importance of a child’s right to play.

The article states “That every child has the right to rest and leisure, to engage in play and recreational activities appropriate to the age of the child and to participate freely in cultural life and the arts… Member governments shall respect and promote the right of the child to participate fully in cultural and artistic life and shall encourage the provision of appropriate and equal opportunities for cultural, artistic, recreational and leisure activity.”

This comment was raised to address the fact that very few of the national reports to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child included Article 31 and those which have done so have largely focused on children’s physical activity and not embraced all components of the article. It provides guidance on the legislative and other measures required to guarantee its implementation for all children without discrimination.

Health Minister Lesley Griffiths said:

"Wales is already leading the way on promoting children’s rights and the articles of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. The right for children to experience the freedom and enjoyment of play and recreational activities is of paramount importance to the Welsh Government. Recently we commenced the duty on our Local Authorities to assess the sufficiency of play opportunities in their local area. This is the first step in ensuring we have places which are safe and freely available for children to play both now and in years to come."

Mike Greenaway, Director of Play Wales said:

“I welcome the news that the United Nations has adopted the General Comment on Article 31. On the world stage Article 31 is often referred to as the most neglected or forgotten right. However, Wales is already taking a lead by legislating for children’s rights through the Rights of Children and Young Person’s (Wales) Measure 2011 which places a duty on Welsh Ministers to consider the rights of children when making policy and legislation decisions. The General Comment will further strengthen the importance of play in children’s lives.”


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