Today's children are our future - our future leaders, policy makers, innovators, carers and teachers, and few people would argue against investing in their protection, success and wellbeing.
Children's Week is an annual event celebrated in Australia and is held around the fourth week of October. This year Children's Week runs from Saturday, October 19 to Sunday, October 27.
It was designed as both a celebration of the right of children to enjoy childhood as well as an opportunity for children to show their talents, skills and abilities. There are events and activities held throughout Australia at a national, state and local level, to focus the attention of the wider community on children, their needs and achievements.
Each year the Children's Week Council of Australia selects as the theme of the week a children's right from the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC). The theme of Children's Week 2019 is the right of every child to good health and wellbeing, based on Article 24.
National Children's Commissioner, Megan Mitchell said she wanted to ensure all children and adults knew about and supported this fundamental right. "Article 24 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child states that all children are entitled to 'the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health and to facilities for the treatment of illness and rehabilitation of health'," she said.
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"The right to health is particularly important for children, because their developing brains and bodies can make them more vulnerable to certain health conditions. If they are not healthy, children face barriers to claiming many other basic rights - like being able to learn, play and reach their full potential, as they grow into adults.
"Children's right to health is also what is referred to as an 'inclusive' right, because it extends to more than just access to health care services, to include a wide range of other rights that can affect a child's health - such as the right to non-discrimination and the right to access health-related education and information."
For children to be healthy, they need access to certain preconditions including clean water and air, safe care and housing and nutritious food.
Article 24 also protects a child's right to good mental health. "During my term as National Children's Commissioner, children have told me just what an important issue this is for them," Ms Mitchell said.
"Providing children with the services and support they need to enjoy good mental health needs to become a top priority for Australian governments.
"We must all work together to find better ways to support children to be healthy and thrive: both physically and mentally."