IPA News Worldwide

IPA News Worldwide

General Comment on Article 31 of The UN Convention

The Right to Play is to receive increased attention from UN Committee on the Rights of the Child. Article 31 will be the subject of a General Comment, the aim of which is to increase state accountability. A longer version of this explanation is in Newsbrief April 2013

A General Comment is an official statement adopted by the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child that elaborates on the meaning of an aspect of the Convention that seems to require further interpretation or emphasis. The aim of the General Comment is to increase state accountability.

To date there are 12 such General Comments issued from the year 2001. These include:

  • No. 7 Implementing child rights in early childhood 2005
  • No. 9 The rights of children with disabilities 2006
  • No.11 Indigenous children and their rights2009
  • No.12 The right of the child to be heard 2009

A full list can be found on the website of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, (General Comments) as well as the complete texts.

The General Comment will  provide guidance to ‘States Parties’ (governments of the 192 countries which are signatories to the Convention) with regard to the provisions of the Convention in relation to play and recreation, rest and leisure, cultural life and the arts.  It will raise awareness of the importance of these in the everyday lives of children worldwide.

We hope to position article 31 more centrally within the fuller context of the UN Convention, illustrating the indivisibility of Convention articles, and also to put some emphasis on the role of unstructured or ‘free’ play which is facing increasing challenges.

A fundamental goal of the General Comment will be to influence States Parties to include the provisions of article 31 in their national UNCRC implementation plans, for which all signatories have an obligation to develop. IPA groups all over the world will be invaluable in making this a reality!

The General Comment on article 31 will be a useful tool in harnessing worldwide energy to promote the children’s right to play worldwide. Governments and authorities can play a key role in helping to ensure that children grow up in conditions where they can exercise their right to play.

International Play Association

The International Play Association has as its purpose to protect, preserve and promote the child’s right to play as is a fundamental human right.