Malala Yousafzai wins EU's Sakharov human rights prize

 
Malala Yousafzai, 17 Sep 13 Malala had life-saving surgery in the UK after being shot

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Pakistani schoolgirl and campaigner Malala Yousafzai, who was shot in the head by the Taliban, has won the EU's Sakharov human rights prize.

The 16-year-old activist was shot a year ago for campaigning for better rights for girls.

The Sakharov Prize for free speech is awarded by the European Parliament annually in memory of Soviet physicist and dissident Andrei Sakharov.

US whistleblower Edward Snowden had been a contender for the prize.

The 50,000 euro ($65,000) prize is considered Europe's top human rights award.

Malala rose to prominence in 2009 after writing a blog anonymously for the BBC Urdu service about her life under Taliban rule and the lack of education for girls.

She lived in Pakistan's mountainous Swat Valley and her name became internationally known after the Pakistan army pushed the Taliban out of the area in 2009.

The Taliban's Islamist doctrine puts harsh restrictions on women's rights and one of the militants shot her as she was riding in a bus with school friends.

"Today, we decided to let the world know that our hope for a better future stands in young people like Malala Yousafzai," said the head of the conservative European People's Party (EPP), Joseph Daul.

Malala received a standing ovation in July this year for an address to the United Nations General Assembly, in which she vowed she would never be silenced.

MEPs in Strasbourg said Malala was "incredibly brave" to continue promoting the rights of children. Her new home is in Birmingham, in the UK.

She joins a distinguished list of winners of the Sakharov Prize which includes South Africa's Nelson Mandela and Aung San Suu Kyi in Burma, also known as Myanmar. The award will be officially presented at a ceremony in Strasbourg in November.

Three jailed Belarusian dissidents were also on the shortlist for the prize this year, along with Edward Snowden, who leaked thousands of documents detailing US National Security Agency (NSA) surveillance activities worldwide.

 

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  • rate this
    +9

    Comment number 283.

    What a refreshing choice and worthy winner; She stood up to terrorists and shamed them! A courageous young lady who has shown tremendous determination, pluck in spite of taunts and threats. She has recovered from the the gun-shots to her head and has advocated talks with her tormentors. Maturity of mind at such a tender age, she certainly deserves the Nobel Peace Prize.Prize.

  • rate this
    +6

    Comment number 272.

    She deserved the prize. I just hope all the pressure to turn her into Saint Malala doesn't do her harm.

  • rate this
    +9

    Comment number 264.

    A well deserved award. Even before being shot by the Taliban Malala was campaigning in Pakistan for the rights of girls to receive an equal education. The fact that she continues raise the issue of education for all girls and children around the world now is truly remarkable and inspiring. Her speech at the UN was extremely moving. I am sure the prize money will be used to fund her work further

  • rate this
    +6

    Comment number 220.

    So shes a teen. Generally I believe, when looking around at the ungrateful, undeserving, selfish modern teens in western countries, they dont contribute much. Some have a kind of social conscience and become involved in worthwhile endeavours, but at times even a teen can make a large impact and do something worthy of note. She may be naive wanting to talk to the Taliban, but she has value.

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 213.

    I keep being told by the media how wonderful Malala is, yet still feel uneasy about what is going on here. I keep thinking we shouldn't be investing so much in a 16 year old girl who, because of her dreadful experience and the weight now on her shoulders, appears to have grown old before her time.

 

Comments 5 of 6

 

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