Across the UK, British kids are getting ready - most likely with heavy hearts - to return to the classroom as the new school year starts. But for Syria's children, the routines of childhood usually taken for granted will pass unobserved. Because today marks a tragic milestone in Syria's brutal conflict: one million children have now been forced to flee their homeland. Children make up half of all refugees from the Syrian conflict, the vast majority of them under the age of 11. And these are just the children who have managed to escape across the border to Jordan, Egypt, Lebanon, Turkey, or Iraq
In the last year, over 20,000 people have arrived in Aweil North, near Sudan, to escape violence in the disputed border region and beyond. Most are living in remote camps spread across the isolated region, struggling to survive and virtually cut off from aid.
The vast and sprawling refugee camp at Domiz near the Iraqi Kurdish city of Duhok is a stark reminder of the human interests at stake in the increasingly fraught debate about how to stop the slaughter in Syria.
In the year since Domiz refugee camp opened, it has grown to the size of a small city. 40,000 people live here; nearly 40 times the population of the country town Yea, where I grew up in Australia.
We have a legal duty to provide protection to those who have a well-founded fear of persecution; a principle that the British public broadly supports, even if politicians and the officials who carry out their mandate don't.
We tend to forget that birth registration is a critical life event and that a birth certificate can make or break a child's future. Later in life, a birth certificate can help protect a child against forced marriage, child labour, premature enlistment in the armed forces or, if accused of a crime, prosecution as an adult.
A favourite pair of jeans. A walking stick. A Koran. The keys to a home which may no longer be standing. These are the things
There is mounting concern that Iraq is once again descending into chaos and potential civil war, barely one year after the last American troops left the country. In recent weeks hundreds of thousands of Iraqis have taken to the streets in protests in six of the main Iraqi provinces, including Baghdad itself.
Up to 230,000 Syrians are now estimated to be in Jordan and 500 more are crossing the border every day, stretching the scarce resources of a country that is already battling an economic crisis and cutting fuel subsidies for its own population.
For 3,300 innocent people this is a life or death situation. But the issue internationally is much broader. The fate of a great nation and future of the whole region is at the stake. It is high time to defend the rights of Iranian dissidents in Iraq. The world has a direct interest.