Malala wins the prestigious Sakharov Prize

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 Ahead of the International day of the Girl Child, Pakistani campaigner for girls' education Malala Yousafzai has been awarded the European Parlíament´s Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought 2013.

 Martin Schulz, the president of the European Parliament said in a statement that by awarding the Sakharov Prize to Malala Yousafzai, the European Parliament acknowledges the incredible strength of this young woman. “Malala bravely stands for the right of all children to be granted a fair education. This right for girls is far too commonly neglected", said EP President Schulz said, announcing the laureate.

 "As tomorrow 11 October is the International Day of the Girl Child, I would like to recall that some 250 million young girls around the world cannot freely go to school. Malala's example reminds us of our duty and responsibility to the right to education for children. This is the best investment for the future", he added. 

Ms Yousafzai, 16, is a student from the town of Mingora in Swat District, Pakistan, known for her women's rights activism in the Swat Valley, where the Taliban regime has banned girls from attending school.  She survived an assassination attempt  by the Taliban for attending classes.

The UN Secretary-General´sGlobal Education First Initiative celebrated Malala day in UN Headquarters on 12 July last summer - Malala’s 16th birthday. That day international youth leaders convened at the United Nations and in cities around the world in support of reaching the goal of having all children, especially girls, in school and learning by 2015.

Ms Yousafzai was again a guest of the Global Education First Initiative at an event held on the margins of the annual high-level debate of the General Assembly and moderated by Gordon Brown, the UN Special Envoy for Global Education. It brought together world leaders, heads of major organizations, education activists and representatives of the private sector.

In her address Malala Yousafzai urged world leaders to focus on education to resolve the world’s problems.

“This is our demand, our request to all the responsible people – that instead of sending weapons, instead of sending tanks to Afghanistan and all these countries that are suffering from terrorism, send books. Instead of sending tanks, send pens. Instead of sending soldiers, send teachers. This is the only way we can fight for education.”

The Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought, named after Soviet scientist and dissident Andrei Sakharov, was established in December 1988 by the European Parliament to honour individuals or organizations who dedicate their lives to the defence of human rights and freedoms, particularly the right to free expression.