The European Parliament has today called upon the Pakistani Government to prioritise primary education for girls and to guarantee their safety whilst at school following the appalling and cowardly attack on 14 year old school girl Malala Yousafazi who was shot in the head whilst travelling home from school.
In an emergency resolution passed during today’s Strasbourg plenary session, MEPs broadly welcomed the introduction of new legislation by the Pakistani Government to tackle acts of violence against women, but expressed concern over the increased use of intimidation and harassment which had lead to the destruction of girls’ schools.
MEPs came together to urge Pakistani authorities to work in close-cooperation with the UN and the EU on delivering on the Millennium Development Goals which would provide primary education for all children by 2015. The Parliament also called upon the international community to significantly increase funds aimed at protecting women and girls from sexual violence and domestic abuse.
Jean, a staunch advocate of girls’ rights, recently co-authored a written declaration in the European Parliament which called upon the European Union to support the creation of the International Day of the Girl; an annual day of advocacy which highlights the plight faced by girls and young women around the world.
Speaking after the vote, Jean said: “Malala Yousufzai, at just 14 years old, is lying critically ill in hospital having been shot twice on her bus to school by extremists who use their faith as a pretext for denying young girls an education. She had dared to blog about her life and the problems she and other girls face in trying to achieve their ambitions. She has faced death threats, but chose to continue. The cowardice shown by those who shot her because they could not bear opposition from a 14 year old girl is appalling but not an isolated incident.
“Malala is supported by her family, which is not the case for many as we know, who are pushed into early marriage and never fulfil their potential. From access to education and healthcare to disaster situations and emergency responses, girls face discrimination in every sphere which affects their whole life chances. Research shows that there is no better investment than helping future generations of young women to fulfil their potential, and it falls to the Pakistani Government to ensure that all girls are able to access this fundamental human right without fearing for their lives.”