International Play Association:
Promoting the Child’s Right to Play
50th Anniversary Reception at the Scottish Parliament
on 21st March 2011, 6.00 – 7.30 pm
Last night Robin Harper MSP hosted a reception at the Scottish Parliament to mark the International Play Association’s 50th Anniversary which falls this year. The association promotes the child’s right to play under article 31 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.
In this 50th year IPA is also celebrating the announcement from the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child that it will issue a ‘General Comment’ to governments worldwide to aid implementation of the Child’s Right to Play (article 31). IPA is looking forward to working with the Committee on this endeavour.
Other speakers at the reception were Irene Hogg (Chair of the IPA Scotland Branch), Theresa Casey (IPA’s international President) and Tam Baillie (Scotland’s Commissioner for Children and Young People)
Theresa Casey spoke about the history of IPA and its influence on the development of article 31 in the Un Convention of the Rights of the Child, Members in Scotland have been active since IPA’s establishment in Denmark in May 1961 and formed a Scotland Branch in 1994. The Branch has contributed greatly to the international IPA network and is represented on the international Council. The international positions of President and Secretary are currently held by Scottish members (Theresa Casey and Margaret Westwood respectively).
Originating from a desire to promote adventure playgrounds along the Scandinavian model, over the years the association took on a more consultative and campaigning role on children’s rights in support of clause 7 of the 1959 UN Declaration of the Rights of the Child. This declared that public authorities should endeavour to promote the enjoyment of the right to play and recreation.
Reflecting this role, the association issued the ‘IPA Malta Declaration of the Child’s Right to Play’ in 1977 in preparation for the International Year of the Child in 1979. This gave rise to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1989 of which article 31 includes the child’s right to play.
The association has expanded its membership and now has active groups and branches in over 50 countries throughout the world. It has gained recognition by a number of UN agencies including ECOSOC, UNESCO and UNICEF.
Finally, as part of the event, the guests were able to view the results from the recent IPA Scotland and Children’s Parliament consultation with Scottish children on their experience of the right to play. Their responses are published this week in the report ‘I’d play all day and night if I could’. I’d play all day and night if I could – report (see last week’s post)
The report shows that Scottish children have rich play lives indoor and out, with friends, with friendly adults and without them, in all weathers and at home, school and in their neighbourhoods. Some of the things that get in the way are told in the children’s own words, such as:
“It would be good to have streets where cars can’t get up – where spiders come down and stop the cars getting up…hmmm or cones.” (Boy of 4, Aberdeen) and
” It’s not good enough to have adults around when you’re playing because they stop you doing secret stuff…spoils the game.” (Boy of 5, Kelso) or
“You need to be protected but not that much that you can’t learn anything.” (Girl aged 11, Dunbar)