Heads up: Top comment and controversy

“I’m better off dead” 11 year-old Nada al-Ahdal on child marriage

A video made by 11 year-old Yemeni girl Nada Al-Adhal speaking about child marriage has gone viral.

After it was translated and posted on YouTube, over seven million have watched Al-Adhal petition against the widespread practice of forced child marriages which led her to flee her family, and which, according to her powerful appeal, leads to the suicides of children all over Yemen.

“Go ahead and marry me off. I’ll kill myself, just like that”, she says in a message to her parents, “I’m better off dead”.

Twenty years after the Convention on the Rights of the Child passed through the UN, envisioning a future in which all children have the right to be safeguarded against violence, exploitation and abuse, Al-Adhal’s campaign against child marriage is only one example of children around the world speaking out against continuing violations against their human rights.

In 2009 Manan Ansari, a young child labour activist from Jharkhand, spoke at the International Labour Conference about his experiences as a child working in the mica mines of the region, and his work to free children from the dangers of the labour and give them access to school education.

In 2001, 12-year-old Nkosi Johnson’s heart-wrenching campaign for better understanding and care for HIV/AIDS sufferers helped change policy about HIV-infected children getting into schools, and opened a care centre for infected mothers and their children.

Last October Pakistani activist and Nobel Peace Prize nominee Malala Yousafzai made world news when she was shot by the Taliban for championing education for girls. Since her recovery she has been hailed as a hero and an inspiration for her perseverance, telling world leaders in her speech at the United Nations on her 16th birthday; “they thought that the bullet would silence us. But they failed”.

React Now

Read Next
Help for victims of domestic violence is in a state of crisis  

Controlling behaviour in relationships is now outlawed in the UK, and my story of abuse proves why it should be

Laura Lyons
Russell Brand joins residents and supporters from the New Era housing estate in East London as they deliver a petition to 10 Downing Street  

With Russell Brand and the public on our side, this is how I helped my family and countless others from being evicted this Christmas

Lindsey Garrett
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'
Marian Keyes: The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment

Marian Keyes

The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef creates an Italian-inspired fish feast for Christmas Eve

Bill Granger's Christmas Eve fish feast

Bill's Italian friends introduced him to the Roman Catholic custom of a lavish fish supper on Christmas Eve. Here, he gives the tradition his own spin…
Liverpool vs Arsenal: Brendan Rodgers is fighting for his reputation

Rodgers fights for his reputation

Liverpool manager tries to stay on his feet despite waves of criticism
Amir Khan: 'The Taliban can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'

Amir Khan attacks the Taliban

'They can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'
Michael Calvin: Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick