For too long, the world has tolerated widespread violence against children that leaves millions of children unsafe in their homes, schools and communities, presenting a significant barrier towards reaching overall development aims. Chad, for example, has the third highest rate of child marriage in the world. Child marriage often compromises a girl's development by resulting in early pregnancy and social isolation, interrupting her schooling, limiting her opportunities for career and vocational advancement and placing her at increased risk of domestic violence... The future of countries like Chad depend on us ensuring that the promises we make to the world's children in September are upheld, and that we fulfil our commitment to ensure that no child is left behind, no matter their circumstance.
If this longstanding institution is to live up to its potential as a global model of diverse states working to tackle common challenges and seize common opportunities, it needs the right leadership at this crucial moment. For the sake of the people and the countries that rely on the Commonwealth, and those who could benefit from its flourishing, let us hope their governments choose wisely.
We must try to find sustainable long-term strategies which will address the underlying problems and help people to stay where in almost all cases they would rather be, namely their own home country. As the conflict continues in Syria, it should be acknowledged that the UK has committed £800million of support in response to the humanitarian crisis, including food, medical care and relief items to people in desperate need in Syria and in the region. But safe and properly organised routes to humanitarian protection, for those who really need it, should also be part of the response.
Travelling on a budget is not so hard though, once you get the hang of it, and it makes your travels that much more special as you can really appreciate what you've worked so hard for! So here are some useful tips for keeping your spending under control whilst also making the most out of your travels!
The Ministry estimates the total damage to the country's education system at US$313.2 (£204.7) million, mainly to infrastructure. Demolition and debris removal, construction of temporary learning centres, child-friendly spaces, water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) facilities, plus school repair costs total US$32.5 (£21.24)million.
Asked about the case in the House of Lords last week, Foreign Office Minister Baroness Anelay said that the UK government stands by "freedom of religion and belief and freedom of expression". But, she said, "we have to recognize that the actions of the Saudi government in these respects have the support of the vast majority of the Saudi population."
Beijing has written a bill which, if passed, will allow Hong Kongers to vote for their own leader in 2017 - as long as the Communist party approves of the three candidates put forward. Hong Kong, gloriously and rightfully autonomous since it's release from Britain in the late nineties, was promised 50 years of making their own choices and rules. This bill undermines that promise.
As the Badawi case has shown, dissent in Saudi Arabia, as in many countries in the Middle East, is brutally suppressed. Yet Saudi Arabia is in fact a signatory to the Arab Charter on Human Rights in 2009, a document that guarantees the right to freedom of expression. Campaigners are asking Saudi Arabia to adhere to the standards it has set for itself.
You're probably reading this post on a computer or mobile device via a vibrant glow emitted by the screen. So readily available to many of us, light and power only becomes evident in their unexpected absence - the frustration of dead batteries, power outages and darkness. Yet for 622million people in Africa, energy poverty is the norm. Home to one-sixth of the world's population, Africa receives only 4% of the world's energy supply... Inspired by my own childhood I knew that we could electrify Africa now, and we could do it quickly.
After sending renowned Azerbaijani human rights activists and journalists to prison, the country's authorities have decided to ban foreign journalists and rights groups from the European Games. This latest move highlights the lengths to which Azerbaijan will go to prevent people from seeing what's really going on within its borders.
When it comes to climate change, the talk is often about the impact on future generations. The implication is that consequences are still some way off in the future and, despite the scary headlines, we don't need to worry too much about them now. But for those of us who are deeply concerned about the effect carbon emissions are having on people and planet, this isn't helpful.
Victims of child, early and forced marriage typically have children very young and because their bodies aren't ready for childbirth, around 70,000 girls die in labour every year... I've uploaded a selection of our child bride images into the 'how old am I' app and here are the results. A picture says a thousand words, but the age says so much more.
What kind of state murders hundreds of people, including women and children, just because they express a different opinion, are of a different religion, or even for smoking a cigarette? The answer is a state that has no legitimacy, no functioning justice system, no connection with its people and no future.
The UN is predicting that by the end of this year almost 10million people in Iraq will be in urgent need of help... Already, 1.3million children have been torn from their homes and more than three million do not have access to quality education. Children face danger on a daily basis and have witnessed unspeakable cruelties. Girls have fallen victim to enslavement and sexual violence. Children have been used as suicide bombers and as human shields. Most are living without physical protection, psychosocial support, and basic services.