Malala Yousafzai

Pakistan’s Malala Yousafzai receives EU Sakharov rights prize

Malala Yousafzai receives prestigious Sakharov human rights prize in recognition of her crusade for the right of all children to an education

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 20 November, 2013, 8:18pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 20 November, 2013, 8:22pm

Pakistani teenager Malala Yousafzai was handed the EU’s prestigious Sakharov human rights prize on Wednesday in recognition of her crusade for the right of all children, girls and boys, to an education.

Children don’t want an iPhone, an Xbox or chocolates. They just want a book and a pen
Malala Yousafzai

To thunderous applause announcing the European Parliament prize, the assembly’s president Martin Schulz praised the 16-year-old activist as “a survivor, a heroine and an extraordinary young woman” and said: “You have given hope to millions of people.”

Malala, dressed in orange and with her father at her right, became the 25th winner of the Sakharov prize at the ceremony significantly held on World Children’s Day, with 21 of the former winners present.

Accepting the award “in the name of God”, she spoke out for the 57 million children in the world deprived of education, insisting too on the lack of schooling for girls, often due to forced marriages, trafficking, poverty and sexual violence.

“Children don’t want an iPhone, an Xbox or chocolates,” she concluded as lawmakers rose to their feet, “They just want a book and a pen.”