Malala urges UN to campaign for free education for all

Malala Yousafzai before her speech at The United Nations headquarters in New York. Photo: Eskinder Debebe/UN Photo/PA Wire

A Pakistani schoolgirl shot by the Taliban for championing women's rights has told the United Nations she was attacked because extremists fear the power of education.

Malala Yousafzai, who has been recovering from last year's attack in the UK, told the youth assembly there were millions who had been attacked or killed across the world because of the terrorists' fear of "books and pens".

The United Nations of Malala Yousafzai meeting the The Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown. Credit: Eskinder Debebe/UN Photo/PA Wire

She called on those present to take up "the weapon of knowledge" in their campaign for access to education for all children around the world.

On her 16th birthday, the slight figure of Malala Yousafzai stood up to address the United Nations today - a mere nine months after the Taliban tried to murder her, simply for going to school.

ITV News' Washington Correspondent Robert Moore reports:

The event was organised by former prime minister Gordon Brown, now UN Special Envoy for Global Education, who is campaigning to get every girl and boy into school by 2015.

He praised Malala as "the most courageous girl in the world".

The UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, who also attended the event, called her "our hero, our champion" and following her address he received a petition with four million signatures demanding education to all.