There is an alarming rise in the number of Syrian refugee girls in Jordan being forced into early marriages, according to the new figures from the United Nations.
As Orla Guerin reports from Zaatari refugee camp, poverty is forcing some families to effectively sell their daughters to much older men, and there is now an organised trade in young girls.
In a prefabricated cabin in the sprawling camp, a girl, 13, sat on the floor engulfed by a frilly white dress, and a hooded silk cape.
She was surrounded by children, not much younger than her, clapping and singing a nursery rhyme.
What looked like a game of dressing-up was in fact her wedding reception. Her Mother looked on from a distance and wept - for her war torn homeland, and perhaps for her daughter. She asked us not to give their names.
We stand now at approximately 500 days from the initial target date for the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals set in 1990.
These goals represent the most ambitious shared aspirations of humanity the modern world ever assembled. As we take measure now of the successes and shortfalls of this global effort, redouble our efforts for real, sustained progress in these final 500 days, and establish the framework for beyond 2015, I am inspired by what has been achieved and worried about what comes next.
At least 10 people have been killed in a strike near a UN-run school housing Palestinians displaced by the Gaza conflict, medics say.
The attack hit the entrance of the facility in Rafah, where thousands of Palestinians are said to be sheltering.
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon described the attack as a "moral outrage and a criminal act".
The Israeli military has not commented but has been carrying out renewed strikes in Gaza.
Israeli media reports say most troops have left Gaza, though there is no official order to end the operation.
For humanitarian workers, last year was the most dangerous on record, with 155 killed. World Humanitarian Day – which marks the anniversary of the bombing of the UN headquarters in Baghdad in 2003 when 22 people died – is intended to highlight the plight of aid workers. We profile 10 people working in some of the world’s most dangerous areas, who reveal in their own words why they do it.
JERUSALEM (CNS) — With close to a quarter of a million Palestinians rendered homeless by the continuing and intensifying fighting between Hamas and Israel in Gaza, the Coordinating Catholic Aid Organizations met three times in as many days to organize action to confront the humanitarian crisis.
In addition to the current material needs — food, water, personal hygiene items, medicine and diesel fuel for generators — the Catholic aid associations from the Holy Land, U.S. and Europe are beginning to plan for the psychosocial needs of Gazans at the eventual end to the confrontation.
“We are talking about a massive number of people who will be in need of help, and of at least 200,000 children who will need intervention,” said Sami El-Yousef, regional director of the Jerusalem Office of the Catholic Near East Welfare Association.
CNEWA ran such a program after the Israeli incursion into Gaza in 2012, he said.