As the world prepares to celebrate the UN mandated Malala Day on November 10 (today), tens of thousands of Britons called on the government on Friday to nominate Malala Yousafzai for the Nobel Peace Prize.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Thursday announced the celebration in honour of the girls’ education activist. In a video message placed on the UN website, he said that education is a fundamental human right.
Ban added: “Malala Yousafzai is a global symbol of every girl’s right to an education. On November 10, citizens from across the globe are speaking out for Malala and on behalf of the 61 million children still not in school. My special envoy for global education, Gordon Brown, will deliver a petition in support of Malala and the universal right to education.
The UN chief added: “I am adding my voice to the messages from over one million people across the globe. Education is a fundamental human right. It is a pathway to development, tolerance and global citizenship. Join us in our campaign to put education first, for Malala and girls and boys throughout the world.”
Calls to nominate Malala for Nobel Peace Prize
A campaign led by a Pakistani-British woman urged UK Prime Minister David Cameron and other senior government officials to nominate Malala for the Nobel Peace Prize.
“Malala doesn’t just represent one young woman, she speaks out for all those who are denied an education purely on the basis of their gender,” campaign leader Shahida Choudhary said in a statement issued by global petition platform Change.org.
More than 30,000 people have signed the petition in Britain as part of a global push by women’s rights advocates to nominate her for the prize. Similar campaigns have sprung up in Canada, France and Spain.
Under the Nobel Committee’s rules, only prominent figures such as members of national assemblies and governments are able to make nominations.
Malala’s shooting was the culmination of years of campaigning that had pitted the young girl against one of Pakistan’s most ruthless Taliban commanders, Maulana Fazlullah.
Fazlullah and his men had taken over Swat Valley, blowing up girls’ schools and publicly executing those they deemed immoral. An army offensive in Swat has, however, forced many Taliban fighters to flee.
The call to nominate the 15-year-old comes on the eve of the “Global Day of Action” for Malala, marking one month since her shooting.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 10th, 2012.