MEP tips Malala Yousafzai for Sakharov Peace Prize

M_Id_401357_Malala_YousafzaiNorth West MEP Sajjad Karim has tipped Malala Yousafzai (pictured) for the EU Sakharov Peace Prize for championing women’s rights to education despite fresh threats against her life by the Taliban.

A year ago today the Pakistani teenager was shot in the head by two gunmen as she sat on a school bus in her hometown.

The Taliban had previously banned girls from attending school in the Swat Valley and Malala kept a blog for the BBC highlighting the injustice of living under the oppressive regime. The teenager was targeted by the Taliban in an effort to silence her vocal support of promoting education for girls.

However, instead of silencing the brave girl, the shooting drew immediate outrage and condemnation in Pakistan and internationally. Malala was flown to the UK for medical treatment and she now continues to speak out against the Taliban.

British MEP and Chairman of the European Parliament friends of Pakistan group, Sajjad Karim, led a campaign last year to highlight Malala’s story and attained cross party support in his letter urging the President of Pakistan to bring her attackers to justice. On 9 October he said: “Malala’s courage, determination and defiance to speak out against one of the world’s most violent and oppressive regimes is truly inspiring. It is only fitting that she is awarded the EU Sakharov prize for Freedom of Thought on the anniversary of the attack which almost killed her.

“She continues to defy the Taliban and will not allow them to stop her championing girls’ rights to education even with their renewed threats.

“At the age of 16, her towering achievements have already made her a giant amongst men and she will be considered as one of humanity’s greatest living heroes alongside Nelson Mandela. I strongly support Malala’s cause and her message is not just for the girls of the Swat Valley, it is a message for us all.

The winner of the Sakharov prize will be announced on 10 October, and the €50,000 prize will be awarded in Strasbourg on 20 November.

The prize honours exceptional individuals who combat intolerance, fanaticism and oppression and previous laureates include Nelson Mandela and Aung San Suu Kyi.

Malala Yousafzai was awarded a Pride of Britain award, which was presented to her by David Beckham on 8 October. She is also hotly tipped for a Nobel Peace Prize this year.

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Category: A Frontpage, Conflicts, Human Rights

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