TEENAGE Pakistani schoolgirl Malala Yousafzi has been awarded the EU’s top human rights award – the Sakharov Prize – for her work promoting education for girls.
The 16-year-old, who was shot – alongside two other schoolgirls Kainat Riaz and Shazia Ramzan – by Taliban fighters last year for campaigning against a ban on girls attending school in her home, Pakistan’s Swat Valley, has been a tireless advocate for women and girl’s rights since she was just 11 years old.
Now living in the UK, Malala has also been nominated for the 2013 Nobel Peace Prize.
London MEP Jean Lambert, who joined members of other political groups to nominate Malala for the 2013 Sakharov Prize, said it was well-deserved, and a fitting choice ahead of UN International Day of the Girl, which will be marked around the world tomorrow (October 11th).
“Malala Yousafzi is an inspiration to all of us – and this prize is well-deserved.”
Ms Lambert, the capital’s Green MEP and Chair of the European Parliament’s delegation to South Asia – which includes Pakistan – added: “Malala has been a tireless campaigner for the rights of women and girls, and for universal education, and it is fitting that the EU has chosen to honour someone working hard to eliminate the gender discrimination which, sadly, is so prevalent around the world today.
“This is a real step forward in entrenching the importance of investing in girls in the work of the European Parliament.”
“Ironically, in attempting to silence her, the Taliban have amplified her message.
“I look forward to meeting her when she comes to Brussels to collect her award.”