The United Nations envoy advocating for the rights of children during armed conflicts today welcomed the Security Council's decision to agree to apply sanctions against any individuals or entities that violate children's rights.

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Hundreds of young people converged on the United Nations in New York today as the General Assembly kicked off a high-level meeting devoted to tackling the challenges facing youth and exploring their potential to bring about change in their societies and in the world at large.

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The Security Council today, recognizing schools and hospitals as safe havens for children, called for all parties to conflict that attack such facilities to be held accountable and that they be added to the list published annually by the United Nations of those who commit grave violations against children.

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In a few days' time, world leaders and policy makers will convene at the United Nations for a special summit on young people. Given recent developments in many parts of the world, such a meeting is timely.

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The African Union today outlined its priorities for collaboration with UN Women- the UN entity for gender equality and the empowerment of women.

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Deputy Secretary-General Asha-Rose Migiro today underscored the importance of education in raising the status of women in society and called for greater investment in measures to ensure gender equality, deploring the fact that two-thirds of illiterate adults across the world are female.

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The recruitment and use of children by armed forces and other armed groups in Chad persists, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon says in a new report, while noting that reduced tensions last year enabled many children to leave such groups.

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The recent UN-negotiated action plan with the Afghanistan government - signed on 30 January and outlawing the use of child soldiers in armed forces - has not yet resulted in demobilization, but it has shifted the focus to the role state actors play in recruiting children.

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Only when rape in armed conflict becomes a liability for armed groups rather than a tool in the struggle for power – a war crime that will bring inevitable punishment – will progress be made in eliminating the scourge, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said today.

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The head of the new United Nations agency promoting women’s rights and full participation in global affairs laid out a 100-day action plan today, embracing a full spectrum of issues from supporting national partners to promoting coherence within the UN system.

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