Education International
Education International

Amnesty International honours young activist for girls and women’s right to education

published 27 September 2013 updated 30 September 2013

Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani teenager shot by the Taliban last year for campaigning for girls' education, has been honoured by Amnesty International in Dublin, Ireland. The 16-year-old has shared the Ambassador of Conscience Award with US singer Harry Belafonte for his work on human rights and social justice. Recipients are selected for showing exceptional leadership in the fight to protect and promote human rights and conscience.

Education, a key factor in fighting inequality in Pakistan and worldwide

The presentation ceremony took place on 17 September in the Mansion House, Dublin, where Malala called for education to be used as a weapon against war.

The teenager urged governments around the world to take action against inequality.

“With this powerful weapon of knowledge and education, we can fight against wars, terrorism, child labour and inequality,” Malala said. “The only tools that are needed are a pen and a book to get us on our way to an enlightened future for one and all.”

She said war continues to be waged and human rights neglected all over the world and children are suffering from child labour and trafficking.

“You may be asking yourselves, 'what is the solution?’” she added. “I believe the only solution is education, education, education.”

EI: “Unite” campaign for quality campaign for all

EI General Secretary Fed van Leeuwen commented: “Malala was targeted after campaigning for girls' rights to attend school, and her courage is moving the world forward in its journey towards equality.”

“There is no doubt that Malala Yousafzai paid a terrible price to put the issue of girls’ right to education at the very top of the international education community’s agenda, he said, noting that it may be that this has woken the world up to the crisis in education in a way that nothing else managed to do”.

Van Leeuwen reiterated that with the EI “Unite for Quality Education” initiative to be launched simultaneously on 4 October in Paris, France, and New York, USA, EI and its affiliates will continue advocating for the right to education, for every child, irrespective of gender, where they live, how rich or poor they are, or whether they are part of a marginalised group, so that they may benefit from equitable quality public education.

He also welcomed the fact that Malala was honoured in Dublin, where the EI Second World Women’s Conference will take place from 7 until 9 April next year.