Published: Thu, 10 October 2013
Seán Kelly MEP has congratulated the “heroic” 16-year-old Malala Yousafzai on winning the prestigious European Parliament Sakharov Prize for promoting freedom of thought. Mr Kelly nominated Malala for the prize last month and is delighted to confirm that the European Parliament confirmed that Malala as a 2013 winner this morning (Thursday).
The teenager survived a horrific attack by the Taliban in which she was shot in the head while on a school bus in Pakistan aged just 15 years old, last year. It’s believed the extremists targetted the school girl because she campaigned for equality in education, particularly for women.
“Malala has quite rightly been described as the world’s most inspirational young person,” Mr Kelly said, in explaining why he had nominated her for the Sakharov Prize. This latest award follows Malala’s Tipperary Peace Prize which she travelled to Tipperary to receive.
“She is a voice for youth and equality all around the world. In peacefully seeking out educational opportunities and encouraging other girls to go to school, she inspired a generation in Pakistan. She showed enormous bravery and resilience in fighting for her life and continuing her campaign for equality in the aftermath of the brutal and shocking shooting incident. In that way, she inspired a global awakening to the importance of education and highlighted the inequalities that persist.”
The South MEP continued: “The Sakharov Prize was established in 1988 as a means of the European Parliament, the parliament of the European people, honouring individuals or organisations who have dedicated their lives to the defence of human rights and freedom of thought.
“Malala, at such a young age, has already dedicated herself to campaigning for educational equality and women’s rights. From the age of 11 she was writing a secret blog for the BBC on the struggles of Pakistani school girls.
“She has further reminded young European pupils of the freedoms and opporuinities they have with access to education. Hers is a voice for freedom and for promoting education, which ultimately opens more of lifes doors for future adults.
“I am delighted that the EPP Group and now the Parliament has backed my nomination and will award Malala the Sakharov Prize,” Mr Kelly added.
The winners of the Sakharov Prize will be awarded at a ceremony due to take place at the European Parliament, Strasbourg in December.