- Children and Young People have a right to rest and to play which covers all kinds of activities you might want to take part in during your free time
- While you’re enjoying your free time, your other rights are there to protect you
- The Welsh Government takes your right to play and relax seriously
Saying that you have a ‘right to rest’ or the ‘right to play’ doesn’t really cover everything in Article 31 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. This is about making sure that everyone under 18 can have time out to enjoy loads of different activities. Some people like to spend their free time learning new skills, others want to meet with friends and hang out. There are lots of opportunities across Wales, and your rights in Article 31, and the other rights in the UNCRC mean that you should be able to enjoy as much as possible without being treated unfairly or made to feel unsafe.
The UNCRC recognises that children and young people should have time and opportunity to rest, and to play, and to take part in ‘cultural experiences’ – things like drama and film as well as art and other experiences. This is all included in Article 31 of the UNCRC – which recognises that it’s important for you to have time to do what you want to do on your own terms, as well as to have opportunities to take part in organised leisure and cultural activities.
Other rights in the UNCRC that are important so that you can properly enjoy your right under Article 31 include your right not to be discriminated against for any reason – this could help if you are being treated differently by a club or organisation you go to or want to go to. You have the right to meet with your friends, so this could help if someone is trying to stop you hanging out with your friends somewhere.
The Welsh Government recognises the importance of your right to play and relax. It has promised that all decisions that it takes should take into account the UNCRC. The Welsh Government has also made it a requirement that local authorities must look at whether there are enough opportunities for you to play where you live.
When the Welsh Government, or any local authority, makes a decision about how land is used in Wales – and when any public organisation makes these sorts of decisions, this commitment means that it should take into account your right to rest and leisure experience cultural activities. Local authorities should consider this if they are making local rules (‘byelaws’) about where people can go and what they can do, and when they are making decisions about what to spend money on.
Wales has lots of very different communities – some very rural, in remote countryside, some very urban in big towns and cities. Each community has different challenges to deal with to make sure that children living there have access to opportunities for play, leisure and cultural activities. Public bodies in Wales need to recognise this and help all children in Wales have access to the same kinds of leisure opportunities.
We’ve looked at your right to rest and leisure by breaking it down into different sections:
- Places to play and relax
- Time to play and relax
- Opportunities to play and relax
- Staying safe while you play and relax
- Clubs and organisations
- Meeting with friends