ISTANBUL -- The Syrian refugee crisis has exposed the hypocrisy of a world that promises universal rights and then does little to guarantee them. Today, despite headline-grabbing pledging conferences, the majority of Syria's 6 million impacted and displaced children still go without a basic education.
LONDON -- Humanitarian aid rests on the belief that a crisis is a short-term event lasting days, weeks or months, not years. From Syria to Sudan, history says otherwise. Faced with life on the streets, children impacted by a crisis need more than the basics for survival. They need to be able to secure skills for the times ahead. And they need hope. An education -- the prospect of being able to plan and prepare for the future -- is most likely to secure this hope.
LONDON -- Humanity is everybody's business, and an education is everybody's right. So it shouldn't fall only to governments and international agencies to provide aid during a crisis. Inside the humanitarian tent we need charities, philanthropists, businesses and social enterprises all working together.
LONDON -- Europe is once again divided between East and West -- only this time the fault line runs through the European Union. The eastern members -- most notably Poland and the Baltic states -- are clinging fast to the EU in the face of Russian aggression. At the other geographic and political extreme, the United Kingdom is threatening to walk out on Europe for good. Decisions being taken today on Europe's eastern and western peripheries are likely to shape a new balance of power.
While no human rights treaty is more widely ratified than the Convention on the Rights of the Child, and while governments are required to report on their compliance on children's rights once every five years, little is done in practice to end the violation of children's rights. It is time for an International Children's Court.
As columnist Nicholas Kristof wrote: "They know that illiteracy, ignorance and oppression of women create the petri dish in which extremism can flourish." Not always. The young men are not just graduates of the infamous madrassas, some of which are in Syria, Pakistan, and Nigeria and teach a narrow version of the Koran and not much else. Still, the lack of educational opportunities around the world, where 58 million children are not in school and 10 million child brides are married off each year, contribute to the appeal of radicals. It is hard to oppose judicious airstrikes in the short-term. But helping refugees, particularly the three million Syrians in Turkey, Jordan and Lebanon, get proper schooling is vital. Otherwise the bombs will reign for decades.