Malala Yousafzai awarded European prize for freedom of thought

(A video from The Guardian is after the article – click on the link to view it)malala-europe

16 years old Pakistani schoolgirl and campaigner Malala Yousafzai, who was shot in the head by the Taliban a year ago after campaigning for better rights for girls in Pakistan, has received the EU’s Sakharov human rights prize at a ceremony in Strasbourg.

The 50,000 euro ($65,000) prize is considered Europe’s top human rights award.

“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,” Ms Yousafzai said.

“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 famous quote from 18th Century French philosopher Voltaire: “I do not agree with what you have to say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.”

She said children in countries such as Pakistan “do not want an iPhone, a PlayStation or chocolates, they just want a book and a pen”.

MEPs (Members of the European Parliament) gave her a standing ovation.

You can see her and listen to parts of her speech here :

Malala Yousafzai awarded Sakharov prize for freedom of thought – video | World news |