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Children's Week celebrates important milestone for children's rights

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From 24 October to 1 November Queenslanders gathered to celebrate Children's Week 2015 and support this year's theme 'children's rights are human rights'.

The new Principal Commissioner of the Queensland Family and Child Commission (QFCC), Cheryl Vardon, attended the Children's Week launch at the Mt Coot-tha Botanical Gardens in Toowong on Sunday 25 October.

This year the focus was on children's rights and marking the 25th anniversary of Australia signing the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.

On stage Ms Vardon spoke about the joy and wonder of childhood, but also the immense vulnerability.

She said events like Children's Week help increase community awareness about children's needs and how we can respect their rights.

Keeping children safe is a shared responsibility and Ms Vardon said parents, families, communities, government and support organisations all had a role to play.

She also spoke in support of the Children's Week Junior Ambassador, Rosie Sellars, whose speech we'd like to share below:

Good Morning Ms Vardon, Lord Mayor Quirk, Cr Matic, Mr Shenfield, special guests, ladies, gentlemen and of course children.

My name is Rosie and I am delighted to have been chosen as a Junior Ambassador for Children's Week.

To celebrate Children's Week is to remember that 25 years ago Australia signed the United Nations Children's Rights Convention.

This recognises that children's right are human rights.

A focus on children's rights is important as it allows children like myself and all those in Australia and many others around the world to be safe, play and learn. 

In considering children's rights, I consider myself to be an expert; in fact it is an area in which I have had 11 years of experience… that area is being a child.

All children are different in many ways like culture, personality, family, interests and abilities.

However rather than focus on these differences I do know there is at least one thing that all children can do that is the same… smile.

Smiling is known as an expression of happiness across all cultures and it is scientifically proven that it makes you feel good.

Smiling is something you will see a lot of today and during Children's Week.

Just look around.

By respecting children's rights, more children will have the opportunity to smile.

I am lucky, as I feel safe nearly all the time, however my life would be very different if this was not the case.

Safety allows children to be children, receive lots of affection and joy.

They feel happy, warm and fuzzy and relaxed.

Safe children smile often.

I am lucky as I have lots of time to play.

Play is a big part of children's lives, after they have done their homework and chores.

Play gives children an imagination, enjoyment and an opportunity to make friends.

They feel like they are super heroes, princesses or fire-breathing dragons.

Playful children smile often.

I am lucky as I have the opportunity to learn.

Learning can take place in a classroom, at home, in fact everywhere.

Education gives children a choice, knowledge and a chance for success.

Children feel special when adults or in fact anyone takes the time to teach them something.

Educated children smile often.

So therefore in my expert opinion as a child, Children's Week is a fantastic event to celebrate and focus on the importance of children's rights.

In doing so we will see a whole lot more smiles and that sounds like a great idea to me.

Enjoy this very exciting week.

And don't forget to smile!!