UN supports young people's roles in Arab world uprisings

UN supports young people's roles in Arab world uprisings

The United Nations on Monday endorsed youth participation in this year's popular uprisings in North Africa and the Middle East as a powerful force to shape societies that denied them jobs and education, reported dpa.

Hundreds of youth representatives gathered in the UN General Assembly in New York to speak about the plight of young people facing unemployment or making a living on less than 2 dollars a day.

"During the past year we have seen clearly the power of young people to shape their societies," UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon told the two-day meeting on world youth.

"Often using social networks and other peaceful, creative means, they have been able to succeed where their elders have failed in standing up for justice and tolerance and forging links across regions and cultures," Ban said.

The UN said youth unemployment rate rose from 11.9 per cent to 13 per cent from 2008 to 2009 during the world economic crisis.

The UN Fund for Population (UNFPA) said young people aged 10 to 24 years were estimated to number 1.8 billion, or a quarter of the world population. Half of them were living on less than 2 dollars a day, more than 100 million of them do not attend school and 16 million girls become pregnant every year.

"Young people deserve our immediate and unwavering support," said Babatunde Osotimehin, the executive director of UNFPA.

The UN said governments that were rocked by the recent unrest had agreed to discuss and take action in response to youths' demands for jobs, education and more participation in politics.

The assembly was expected to issue a document at the end of the meeting demanding effective measures to protect young people from terrorism and incitement, cyber bullying and trafficking, and to ensure the rights of young people living under foreign occupation.

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