Interpreting the right to play in Article 31 of the CRC

embedding autonomy and choice

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Article 31 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) provides all children, everywhere, with the right to play. The CRC is the most widely ratified international human rights treaty globally and celebrates its 30th year in 2019. Despite the maturing of the CRC one of the central rights it provides, children’s right to play, is not universally enjoyed. Thus, the right to play is considered ‘the forgotten right’ given widespread State inaction to fulfil this right. This could be due, in part, to a lack of understanding by States about what defines play and how to fulfil this right. This paper asserts that in order for States, and early childhood education and care (ECEC) providers within these States, to uphold children’s right to play article 31 should be interpreted in a way that facilitates children to exercise ‘agency and choice’ within play contexts. The central argument asserts that ‘children’s agency and choice’ in play are essential elements of the right. The paper concludes that in order for to comply with international law children’s agency and choice in play must be reflected in domestic ECEC policies.
Original languageEnglish
JournalHuman Rights Law Review
Publication statusIn preparation - 20 Jul 2019


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