This week Oceania Football and Member Associations are celebrating the importance of children’s rights through this year’s theme, For Every Child, Every Right in the lead-up to World Children’s Day on November 20th.
November 20 marks the day that the UN General Assembly adopted the Declaration of the Rights of the Child in 1954 and the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) in 1989. The CRC is designed to protect children and support them in their development.
Importantly for us to consider in Football, the CRC includes the right to play alongside their rights to not be discriminated against, to be protected from violence, abuse and neglect, and the right to give their opinions freely on issues that affect them and many others. As OFC Head of Social Responsibility, Michael Armstrong said:
“The practice of sport is a human right and we in sport institutions need to be aware of the human rights obligations we have to our participants. That is why it is so important we shine the light on the rights of the child during Universal Children’s Day and why we strive to ensure that all children have the opportunity to play across Oceania”.
OFC’s Just Play programme has been a key driver in improving the lives of children and young people through the transformative power of football.
Reaching over 500,000 children across the region, Just Play promotes learning through play by integrating messages of health, gender equality, social inclusion, safeguarding, play and physical activity through active and fun participation in football.
The significant achievements of the programme and its impact in the key areas will be highlighted through OFC’s social media campaign, ‘Every child has the right to Just Play’.
The campaign will be amplified through festivals across our Member Associations from November 17-20. These festivals provide children with an opportunity to play freely in a safe space where they can express themselves, and where values like respect, care, responsibility, and fairness are encouraged.
The significance of Just Play is echoed through the words of 9-year-old Grace, who attends the Just Play programme in Samoa.
“I love and enjoy attending the Just Play programme. This is an inclusive programme that involves all children with abilities and disabilities like myself, I’m blind.”
“The most important thing I’ve learnt from this programme is having with other kids in the programme, healthy living and balanced food,” said Grace.
Be an advocate for children’s rights, share the hashtag #ChildrensDay #JustPlay and check out the Just Play Facebook page to stay up to date on the ‘Every Child has the right to Just Play’ campaign.
Just Play Programme was developed with the support of UNICEF. Its delivery is made possible due to long-standing partnerships with Australian Aid through the Team Up Programme, the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and the UEFA Foundation for Children.