Physical Activity as a Human Right?

Messing S, Krennerich M, Abu-Omar K, Ferschl S, Gelius P (2021)

Publication Language: English

Publication Type: Journal article, Original article

Publication year: 2021


Book Volume: 23

Pages Range: 201-211

Journal Issue: 2


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Public awareness of the importance of physical activity has increased due to the many lockdowns imposed during the COVID-19 pandemic. This has brought more widespread attention to a question previously confined primarily to parts of the physical activity promotion community: Do humans have a right to be active? While the public health benefits of physical activity are undisputed, up to now no clear understanding has emerged as to whether physical activity represents a human right. Even though the right to physical activity is not explicitly recognized in international human rights treaties, it seems possible to derive it from well-established human rights such as the right to health, the right to rest and leisure, the right to education, and the principle of nondiscrimination. This paper shows how a right to physical activity could be derived from international human rights treaties, how the attributes of such a right could be defined, and which state obligations would be associated with it. Given that the current human rights discourse in this field focuses mainly on the interconnections between sport and human rights, we would like to argue that there is added value in a debate about physical activity as a human right.

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How to cite


Messing, S., Krennerich, M., Abu-Omar, K., Ferschl, S., & Gelius, P. (2021). Physical Activity as a Human Right? Health and Human Rights, 23(2), 201-211.


Messing, Sven, et al. "Physical Activity as a Human Right?" Health and Human Rights 23.2 (2021): 201-211.

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