The pakistani activist, Malala Yousafzai has won the EU’s Sakharov human rights prize at a ceremony in Stratsbourg. She dedicated the award to the “unsung heroes of Pakistan” and to human rights campaigners worldwide.
The 16 year old activist was shot in the head by the Taliban a year ago after campaigning for better rights for girls in Pakistan, she had life-saving surgery in the UK.
She said during her speech:
“I am hopeful the European Parliament will look beyond Europe to the suffering countries where people are still deprived of their basic rights, their freedom of thought is suppressed, freedom of speech is enchained… many children have no food to eat, no water to drink and children are starving for education. It is alarming that 57 million children are deprived of education… this must shake our conscience.”
She began her speech with a quote of Voltaire, the 18th century French philosopher, “I do not agree with what you have to say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.”
The members of the European Parliment gave her a long-lasting standing ovation.