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

    Comment number 267.

    Get off your high horses you lot of bourgeoisie liberals, this fits nicely in the save our ass tick box, we are all responsible for what happened to this girl because we are all citizens of Earth!

  • rate this

    Comment number 266.

    @259 JAB170962

    Someone has already answered your first question about who paid for her medical treatment - the Pakistani government.As to the second question about why she has stayed in Birmingham.If ever there was an asylum seeker with a just cause,it's her.She wouldn't last five minutes if she went home.

  • rate this

    Comment number 265.

    This girl should be an inspiration to all youngsters regardless of nationality or religion. She puts to shame those foolish kids who care little about education and who sneer at those who do well academically. Many of them, like me, are white, British and (nominally) Christian, yet here is a Muslim, a foreigner, who is worth ten of any of them.

  • rate this

    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

    Comment number 263.

    I hope this news brings human race the value of education for women and bid bye to Saria law ideas.

  • rate this

    Comment number 262.

    @226 NW1837

    By saying that Malala should donate her prize money to pay her medical expenses in the UK reveals quite a lot about you. For instance it shows that you are very very out of touch. It's almost a year now, since Pakistan's President announced, while on a visit to England, that ALL of Malala's medical expenses will be paid for by the Pakistan Government.

  • Comment number 261.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 260.

    258. Kitty

    I was responding to 243. Carl Pierce who clearly couldn't understand Malala dressing as a traditional Muslim when the religion has caused her so much pain. I was putting him straight on her probably motives. I was not discussing the 'tent' as you call it. That is a different matter since she doesn't wear full cover garments.

  • rate this

    Comment number 259.

    A truly inspirational young woman but it wonder who has paid for her treatment in the UK and why she is now living in Birmingham

  • rate this

    Comment number 258.

    @245.Jo Anton

    Nothing wrong with a headscarf, that's not really what people complain about when it comes to certain forms of dress... it's that all covering tent thing that some wear. That is intimidating.


    Probably not unfortunately, you can point out the sky is blue to some people and they'll still insist that it's red if that is what they want to see and believe.

  • rate this

    Comment number 257.

    136. I wouldn't say 'God bless her'... The notion of a 'God' is partly why there is such oppression in some parts of the world...

  • rate this

    Comment number 256.

    So, moral of this story is that if you're an activist go out and get yourself shot.

    You'll win the hearts and minds of people (regardless of whether they understand what you campaign about, or if they know anything about you) and you get rich quick in the process.

    I applaud this girl for being an activist - what I don't applaud is all the fawning over her just because she was shot.

  • rate this

    Comment number 255.

    My hat and my heart off to Malala. She deserves this more than anyone. We await the Nobel Committee to forever imprint her name in our hearts. As a father of two girls one three year older and another three years younger than Malala, I'm touched each time I listen to her or read about her. She's a good byword for parents. While she has remained defiant towards the Taliban, she's not vindictive.

  • rate this

    Comment number 254.

    She is deprived girl. Well some are helping her. Why only she? Because someone need to taken from Taliban area to misguide people against Taliban. Look there are large number of deprived girl around the world. I believe that is imperialist game. Please think deeply for true for justice.

  • rate this

    Comment number 253.

    251. Annie-Lou
    According to the BBC corespondent in Pakistan, many people there believe that she was never really shot and that this is all and elaborate conspiracy by the west to make Pakistan look bad!
    Has anyone asked them why the Pakistan govt paid all her medical bills if that were true? I really hate conspiracy theorists......

  • rate this

    Comment number 252.

    welll done Malala ,the comments below and the thing uk has done for this girl shows that they dont dislike all Pakistanis ,but only those who deserve to be disliked
    well done uk

  • rate this

    Comment number 251.

    According to the BBC corespondent in Pakistan, many people there believe that she was never really shot and that this is all and elaborate conspiracy by the west to make Pakistan look bad! Can there be any hope of ever getting through to people like that?

  • rate this

    Comment number 250.

    243. Carl Pierce

    See my comment 245.

    This is because you do not understand that her style of dress is also fashionable and traditional. Many women from the middle and far east are modest by up bringing. They would dress that way now, even without Islam.

    However, she is also proudly Muslim, as a nun is proudly Christian, and sees her majority moderate beliefs as a source of comfort.

  • rate this

    Comment number 249.

    this is utter tripe
    there are far more deserving candidates out there.
    I despair at the world and it's elite
    and what fools they really are

  • rate this

    Comment number 248.

    #241 True but it didn't hurt L Ron Hubbard. Plus getting the daily Mail to rant against me will guarantee a few million more signing up!

    #243 On the contrary. The koran says women should dress modestly and cover the hair (hence the headscarf) It says nothing about shooting them if they learn to read. She's got a better grasp of Islam than the Taliban.


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