Malala Yousafzai gets Amnesty award, says education can win wars

Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani teen activist shot in the head last year by the Taliban for campaigning for girls` education, has received the highest honour conferred by rights group Amnesty International.

Last Updated: Sep 18, 2013, 19:54 PM IST

Zee Media Bureau

Dublin: Having received a top honour awarded by Amnesty International, teen Pakistani activist Malala Yousufzai pitched for education saying knowledge could fight wars.

The young activist, who took on Taliban when she wrote against them in her blogs on BBC Urdu, received the 2013 Ambassador of Conscience Award on September 17 at a ceremony that took place in Dublin’s Mansion House.

"Truly honored" to receive the award, Malala said, "I hope that by working together we will one day realize our dream of education for every child, in every corner of the world."

The 16-year old Malala started by saying that she had written a short speech as she had to finish her homework.

She also left the ceremony quickly so that she could catch a flight back to Birmingham to attend her school.

Reiterating her faith in education, Malala addressed the gathering at Mansion house saying, "With this powerful weapon of knowledge and education, we can fight against wars, terrorism, child labour and inequality. 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".

Malala said the only solution to the endless suffering of children due to war and child trafficking was education.

American singer and human rights activist Harry Belafonte too was awarded with the Amnesty award which honours “individuals who have promoted and enhanced the cause of human rights through their life and by example."

Belafonte also lavished praise on Malala calling her “a true hero of our time."
Amnesty International`s Secretary-General Salil Shetty praised the awardees saying, "Harry and Malala are truly Ambassadors of Conscience, speaking up for universal rights, justice, and human dignity and inspiring others to follow their example."

Previous recipients of the Ambassador of Conscience Award include Vaclav Havel, Nelson Mandela, and Aung San Suu Kyi.

Malala was shot in the head by the Taliban on a school bus last October, an attack that drew worldwide condemnation. She was flown to Britain for surgery for her head injuries and returned to school in Birmingham in March.