Unites Nations, Dec 6: Pakistani teenage activist Malala Yousafzai, who survived a Taliban assassination attempt last year, has been awarded the 2013 UN Human Rights Prize, an honour previously given to icons like late Nelson Mandela in recognition of outstanding achievement in human rights.
The prize is awarded every five years and has previously been bestowed on Amnesty International and former US president Jimmy Carter.
The 16-year-old was attacked in northwestern Pakistan by a group of armed men who fired on her school bus.
“Today, we decided to let the world know that our hope for a better future stands in young people like Malala Wins UN Yousafzai,” chairman of the conservative European People’s Party (EPP), Joseph Daul, said on Thursday.
Malala, who has become an emblem of the fight against the most radical forms of Islamism, had also been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize but it went to the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons on Friday.
Malala rose to prominence in 2009 when she wrote a blog for the BBC Urdu service about her life under Taliban rule and the lack of education for girls.
She received a standing ovation in July 2013 for an address at the United Nations General Assembly, in which she vowed she would never be silenced.
Past winners of the EU’s prestigious prize include South African anti-apartheid hero Nelson Mandela, former UN secretary general Kofi Annan and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi.