On Sunday 22 October 2017, families and friends came together at the beautiful Dominique Portet Winery in the Yarra Valley to support the work of Children’s Rights International (“CRI”).
The Family Fun Day was held to raise money for CRI to help them achieve their goals in Cambodia. Currently, CRI is working on the ground with the Cambodian government to ensure new legislation is properly and effectively implemented. CRI are working with Cambodian judges, police and prosecutors to build capacity in the Cambodian justice system to improve the welfare of children. One of their projects involves implementing a juvenile justice system for children to ensure that children are not prosecuted for crimes as adults. If it is necessary for children to be imprisoned, CRI are working to ensure that children are detained separately from adults. This is an enormous task and CRI is working in conjunction with UNICEF Cambodia and other NGOs to achieve it.
The Honourable Alastair Nicholson AO, RFD, QC, who has been Chairman of the CRI Board since 2010, gave an impassioned speech about CRI’s projects in Cambodia. He acknowledged how wonderful it was to have so many children in attendance at the event, highlighting what CRI is all about: children. The event also supported the Alannah & Madeline Foundation with its continuing work to keep children safe from violence and bullying.
Despite drizzly weather, the day was a huge success enjoyed by both children and adults. There was a highly competitive pétanque contest, wine tasting, fantastic food, a jumping castle and arts and craft for the kids. The event was a great opportunity to raise awareness and funds for an important cause.
Given my own experiences living in Cambodia for 14 months and working on the United Nations Khmer Rouge Tribunal, and other Cambodian legal organisations, I have an appreciation for the issues faced by the Cambodian people. In the 1970s, approximately 2.2 million Cambodians were killed as a result of genocide. Today, fifty per cent of the Cambodian population is under the age of 22 years, making for a very young society. CRI’s capacity building projects in Cambodia are incredibly important because they are child-focused and I value the support our firm provides to CRI to make a difference to the lives of Cambodian children.