Just over seven months ago, activist, human rights champion and former Guantanamo detainee Moazzam Begg was arrested, arrested on the basis that during a trip to Syria he had facilitated terrorism (or so they said). Now two seasons later and just as his trial was set to begin he's been released with all charges levelled against him dropped.
While the eyes of the world rightly look towards global crises in Iraq, Syria, Gaza, Ukraine and West Africa, there is a serious and worsening humanitarian disaster almost going unnoticed in South Sudan. It is deeply saddening to see a country that was once so full of hope for the future, now embroiled in such a painful and destructive war with itself. When I first visited South Sudan less than two years ago I was struck by the optimism and hope that filled the air but today it is an entirely different story.
Across the world, there are 108 million people in need of humanitarian assistance, with more people displaced by violence than ever before. These people have had their lives torn apart by war and natural disaster, and many are starving and in dire need of shelters and medical assistance. Most of them are women and children.
A humanitarian disaster is unfolding in and around Northern Iraq and the international community has been too slow to respond to it. We cannot turn the clock back on that but it is vital that international efforts are ramped up. I therefore support UK participation in those efforts, and through our role in the United Nations and other organisations, we should urgently identify what more can be done.
When that space is claimed and tainted by perceived security interests and the engagement with certain actors has more to do with the fear of legal retribution back home than any tangible threat from individuals or groups, the sector has surrendered to the political and interests of our governments, not of universal humanitarian principles.
It is not our role to discuss how best to bring peace, but it is up to us to address the impact of the conflict on civilians and their humanitarian needs. The need to scale up assistance is great and urgent. Access will become increasingly difficult in some areas - already aid agencies have to negotiate to reach people in need on a daily basis. More supplies are desperately needed in order to support ever-growing numbers of displaced people. Iraqi Red Crescent and ICRC volunteers and staff must be able to deliver assistance safely. Let there be no doubt that the crisis in Iraq has developed into a humanitarian one - and that addressing it is what the term humanitarian means.
When I was born, 18 years ago, my country did not exist. Sudan and South Sudan were all one big nation, the largest in Africa, but already there was always fighting between the south and the rest. My family left our home in Akobo state, one of the most violent areas and moved to Khartoum, the capital of Sudan, which was much safer.
The aid and development sectors work hard to promote and maintain an air of importance and legitimacy, but there are some hard truths that we need to face if the industry is to grow and address the huge challenges we, as a global community, continue to come up against - climate change and the increased frequency of natural disasters, unhindered economic growth causing environmental and social deterioration and the rise of political fundamentalism, just to name a few.
When will the bloodshed of innocent civilians in Syria come to an end? Why should innocent Syrian civilians have to pay the price for violence that has been prevalent in the country since the uprising against President Bashar al Assad? The humanitarian crisis in Syria is at its worst as civilians are being left without basic human needs due to limited funds.
This week, the British Red Cross is launching a long-term recovery programme in the Philippines as the disaster-prone country continues to recover from super-storm Haiyan and braces itself for the onslaught of this year's typhoon season. But as we mark six months since the typhoon hit, many organisations specialising in emergency response are leaving and the levels of support have dwindled, even though the needs remain immense.
I have been an aid worker for over 25 years. In that time I've witnessed and experienced events and horrors that are beyond most people's imaginations. But I don't think I have ever felt the mixture of emotions that hit me recently as I boarded a tiny plane to take me out of the city of Malakal in South Sudan, back to the relative safety of the capital Juba.
Afghanistan is entering a new phase after the Afghan people went to the polls with so much enthusiasm a few days ago. Whatever the result of the election, with NATO troops continuing their withdrawal, it is clear that the burden of responsibility for the country now rests with the Afghans themselves. However, it is vital that the international community do not lose interest, and that western governments in particular do not now consider their responsibility to the Afghan people to be over.
Aid workers work in some tough places. Somalia, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Central African Republic, Syria...the list goes on. It can be a difficult life - faced with daily tragedy on a massive scale, far from family and friends for months on end, unchanging stodgy and irregular food, limited clean water.