Mexico has stated that it will award its 2013 international prize for equality and Non-discrimination to Malala Yousufzai, who was once a victim of Tehreek-e-Taliban in an attack to dismantle women rights and education campaign in the region.
“The award seeks to recognize Malala’s efforts for “the protection of human rights” and particularly her struggle to protect the right to education without discrimination on “grounds of age, gender, sex and religion,” Mexico’s official National Council to Prevent Discrimination said in a statement issued on Sunday.
The award ceremony for 2013 International Prize for Equality and Non-Discrimination is scheduled to take place in early 2014.
Malala is a young Pakistani activist who started writing blogs for women rights and education since she was 11. In October 2012, she was shot by a Terheek-e-Taliban militant in Mingora for raising her voice to promote women rights and education in her town.
A bullet which hit Malala’s skull was later removed by surgeons in Pakistan after which she went to Britain for her treatment. Malala is now currently residing in Britain.
The assassination attempt sparked a national and international outpouring of support for Malala. International media in January 2013 also quoted that Malala may have become “the most famous teenager in the world”.
United Nations Special Envoy for Global Education and former Prime Minister of Britain Gordon Brown launched a UN petition in Malala name, using the slogan “I am Malala” and demanding that all children worldwide be in school by the end of 2015, a petition which helped lead to the ratification of Pakistan’s first Right to Education Bill.
In the 29 April 2013 issue of Time magazine, Malala was featured on the magazine’s front cover and as one of “The 100 Most Influential People in the World”.
She was the winner of Pakistan’s first National Youth Peace Prize and was nominated for the 2013 Nobel Peace Prize but could not secure the title.
On 12 July 2013, Malala on her 16th birthday, spoke at the UN to call for worldwide access to education. The UN dubbed the event “Malala Day”. It was her first public speech since the attack, leading the first ever Youth Takeover of the UN, with an audience of over 500 young education advocates from around the world.
“The terrorists thought they would change my aims and stop my ambitions, but nothing changed in my life except this: weakness, fear and hopelessness died. Strength, power and courage was born … I am not against anyone, neither am I here to speak in terms of personal revenge against the Taliban or any other terrorist group. I’m here to speak up for the right of education for every child. I want education for the sons and daughters of the Taliban and all terrorists and extremists” said Malala.
Malala received several standing ovations. Ban Ki-moon, who also spoke at the session, described her as “our hero”. Malala also presented the chamber with “The Education We Want”, a Youth Resolution of education demands written by Youth for Youth, in a process coordinated by the UN Global Education First Youth Advocacy Group, telling her audience:
“Malala day is not my day. Today is the day of every woman, every boy and every girl who have raised their voice for their rights.”
Recently she was also awarded the European Union’s prestigious Sakharov human rights prize at a ceremony significantly held on World Children’s Day.
The Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought is named after Soviet scientist and dissident Andrei Sakharov, is to honor individuals or organizations who have dedicated their lives to the defense of human rights and freedom of thought.