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Seán Kelly MEP Nominates Malala Yousafzai for Top EU Human Rights Award

Published: Fri, 13 September 2013

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EPP Fine Gael MEP for Ireland South nominates Pakistani campaigner for European Parliament’s Sakharov Prize.

Sean Kelly MEP has nominated Malala Yousafzai, the brave young Pakistani Activist for Women’s Education, Equality, and Rights, and a recent recipient of the Tipperary Peace Award, for the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought 2013, the European Parliament’s highest accolade for Human Rights advocacy.

Mr Kelly, MEP for Ireland South, said: “Malala survived a near fatal assassination attack by the Taliban, directly as a result of her work as a blogger for the BBC, using online media to help raise international awareness about the Taliban’s oppression of women and also their violent hostility towards educational opportunities for girls in the Swat valley, Pakistan. She is a role model for all Europeans and a champion for Human Rights Equality in her homeland and throughout the world.”

“This summer (on the 12th of July 2013) on her 16th birthday she was invited to address the United Nations where she spoke of the rights to education for all children. That day was named “Malala Day” in her honour. I therefore believe that it would be a fitting tribute by the European Parliament to endorse her activism for Human Rights against the extremism of the Taliban, if she were to be nominated for the Sakharov Prize, and join former worthy recipients, such as, Nelson Mandela, Kofi Annan and the UN.”

“She is truly an inspirational figure in our time and she more than deserves the Sakharov Prize for her ongoing activism on woman’s rights and education rights.

It is with therefore with great honour that I would like to nominate Malala Yousafzai for the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought 2013.”

Notes for Editors;

The Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought, named after Soviet scientist and dissident Andrei Sakharov, was established in December 1988 by the European Parliament as a means to honour individuals or organisations who have dedicated their lives to the defence of human rights and freedom of thought. A shortlist of nominees is drawn up by the Foreign Affairs Committee and the Development Committee, with the winner announced in October. As of 2010, the prize is accompanied by a monetary award of €50,000.

The first prize was awarded jointly to South African Nelson Mandela and Russian Anatoly Marchenko. The most recent award, in 2012, was given to two Iranian dissidents, Jafar Panahi and Nasrin Sotoudeh. The prize has also been awarded to different organisations throughout its history, the first being the Argentine Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo (1992).

The Sakharov Prize is usually awarded annually on or around 10 December, the day on which the United Nations General Assembly ratified the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948, also celebrated as Human Rights Day.

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