Malala calls on David Cameron to do better on human rights and climate change

Campaigner will accept Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo

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The Independent Online

The Pakistani schoolgirl shot by the Taliban for speaking out for the rights of girls has called on David Cameron to “do better” and to raise his ambition in 2015.

In a heartfelt open letter to the Prime Minister, Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai has called on the British Prime Minister to join with world leaders next year to back new United Nations development goals and climate change targets to help “change the lives of millions”.

The extraordinary intervention from the 17-year-old campaigner comes on the day that she travels to Oslo to receive her Nobel Prize alongside joint winner Kailash Satyarthi, an Indian children’s rights activist.

During her acceptance speech in Oslo, where she travelled with five other teenage activists from Pakistan, Syria and Nigeria, she will tell David Cameron and other world leaders that the world must “commit to seeing the last child out of school, the last child forced into slavery and the last child forced to flee their home because of the danger of climate change”.

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Malala Yousafzai listens to David Cameron during the 'Girl Summit 2014' in July (Getty)

The last two years have seen the campaigner, known simply as Malala, emerge as a global figurehead for child rights and addressed the United Nations General Assembly, while recovering from a horrific attack that saw her shot in the head.

In the letter she says her achievements put in “stark relief the injustice in a world where education can be classed as a crime”. She says that two major United Nations conferences on development and climate change in 2015 give world leaders a “unique opportunity” to raise their game a “pivotal point” in world history.

Her call will be heard loudly in Downing Street where Cameron described Malala as “extraordinary” and as a “beacon of hope” after she travelled to the UK in 2012 for medical treatment.

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A school in the war-torn city of Aleppo, Syria (Getty)

The letter, which acknowledges “tremendous progress” in getting girls into school and preventing the deaths of children under five,  sets out the main theme of her highly anticipated speech in Norway, where she will tell world leaders that despite advances too many children still die of preventable diseases, too many children live in communities “whose very existence” is threatened by climate change and that too many girls have their education cut short by forced marriages.

Malala is throwing her support behind action/2015, a new campaign backed by hundreds of anti-poverty organisations, including Save the Children, the One Campaign, Global Call to Action Against Poverty. Launching next month, the campaign aims to become one of biggest history and will focus on 2015 as the year to secure concrete action to tackle the root causes of inequality, injustice, poverty and climate change.

Brendan Cox, director of policy and advocacy at Save the Children, said: “Malala’s letter should serve as a reminder to us all that 2015 is an historic opportunity to secure change that will benefit not only the young people of today but the young people of tomorrow. We have in our grasp the opportunity to achieve historic agreements which could put us on a path to ending poverty and inequality and making huge strides in the fight against climate change.”

A spokesperson for No.10 said: “The Prime Minister has been at the heart of international efforts to agree a clear, inspirational set of development goals focused on eradicating extreme poverty which, as he said at the UN General Assembly in September, must be ambitious. We congratulate Malala on being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for the important role she has played in highlighting the right of all children to education and welcome her call for world leaders to agree a bold and ambitious set of post-2015 global development goals."

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