United Nations CRC/C/GC/17 Distr.: General Convention on the Rights of the Child 17 April 2013 Original: English Committee on the Rights of the Child General comment No. 17 (2013) on the right of the child to rest, leisure, play, recreational activities, cultural life and the arts (art. 31)* Contents Paragraphs Page I.Introduction1-63 II.Objectives 73 III.Significance of article 31 in children’s lives8-134 IV.Legal analysis of article 3114-155 A.Article 31, paragraph 1.145 B.Article 31, paragraph 2157 V.Article 31 in the broader context of the Convention16-317 A.Links with the general principles of the Convention 16-197 B.Links with other relevant rights 20-318 VI.Creating the context for the realization of article 3132-4710 A.Factors for an optimum environment 3210 B.Challenges to be addressed in the realization of article 31 33-4711 VII.Children requiring particular attention in order to realize their rights under article 3148-5315 VIII.States parties’ obligations54-5917 IX.Dissemination60-6122 I.Introduction The importance of play and recreation in the life of every child has long been acknowledged by the international community, as evidenced by the proclamation in the 1959 Declaration of the Rights of the Child: “The child shall have full opportunity for play and recreation […]; society and the public authorities shall endeavour to promote the enjoyment of this right” (art. 7). This proclamation was further strengthened in the Convention on the Rights of the Child (the Convention) of 1989 which explicitly states in article 31 that “States Parties recognize the right of the child to rest and leisure, to engage in play and recreational activities appropriate to the age of the child and and to participate freely in cultural life and the arts.” However, based on its reviews of the implementation of the rights of the child under the Convention, the Committee is concerned by the poor recognition given by States to the rights contained in article 31. Poor recognition of their significance in the lives of children results in lack of investment in appropriate provisions, weak or non-existent protective legislation and the invisibility of children in national and local-level planning. In general, where investment is made, it is in the provision of structured and organized activities, but equally important is the need to create time and space for children to engage in spontaneous play, recreation and creativity, and to promote societal attitudes that support and encourage such activity. The Committee is particularly concerned about the difficulties faced by particular categories of children in relation to enjoyment and conditions of equality of the rights defined in article 31, especially girls, poor children, children with disabilities, indigenous children, children belonging to minorities, among others. Furthermore, profound changes in the world are having a major impact on children’s opportunities to enjoy the rights provided for in article 31. The urban population, especially in developing countries, is increasing significantly, as is violence worldwide in all its forms – at home, in schools, in mass media, in the streets. The implications, along with the commercialization of play provisions, are influencing the ways children engage in recreation, as well as in cultural and artistic activities. For many children in both rich and poor

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