Malala Yousafzai won the Sakharov Prize

October 11, 2013

Funding Scheme: 2013-10-11


The young Pakistani, campaigner for girls’ education, is the laureate of the Sakharov Prize 2013 following today’s decision of the Conference of Presidents. The “Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought” is given by the European Parliament and it awards people and organizations which have defended Human Rights and freedom. Malafa Yousafzai will receive the award on 20 November in Strasbourg. 


Ms Yousafzai, 16, is a student from the town of Mingora in Swat District, Pakistan, known for her women’s rights activism in the Swat Valley, where the Taliban regime has banned girls from attending school.

She gave her first public speech in September 2008, entitled “How dare the Taliban take away my basic right to an education?”. When all girls’ schools under Taliban control were closed in January 2009, she started a blog for BBC Urdu under the pseudonym of Gul Makai, a folklore heroine. The blog brought fame to Malala and her fight. Threats to her family followed as soon as her identity was revealed, leading up to an assassination attempt in October 2012, when she was shot in the head and neck by Taliban gunmen while returning home on a school bus.

“Malala has gained global recognition as a human rights fighter”, say the MEPs who nominated her, militating “for the right to female education, freedom and self-determination”.

Malala Yousafzai was nominated jointly by the EPP, the S&D, ALDE; Jean LAMBERT (Greens, UK), and the ECR.

The Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought, named after Soviet scientist and dissident Andrei Sakharov, was established in December 1988 by the European Parliament to honour individuals or organizations who dedicate their lives to the defence of human rights and freedoms, particularly the right to free expression

Url description: Press room - European Commission