OTTAWA: Malala Yousafzai, the 16-year-old activist who was shot by the Taliban for championing girls’ rights to education, will be offered honorary Canadian citizenship, a government source said Wednesday.
The announcement is expected in a speech later in the day outlining the Canadian government’s upcoming legislative agenda, according to the senior official.
Malala will become just the sixth person to be granted honorary Canadian citizenship, following in the footsteps of Swedish diplomat Raoul Wallenberg, Nelson Mandela, the Dalai Lama, Aung San Suu Kyi and the Aga Khan.
Malala was shot in the head by the Pakistani Taliban on October 9, 2012, for speaking out against them, demanding that girls be given the right to go to school.
She was subsequently flown to Britain for specialist care and made a remarkable recovery, going on to become a global ambassador for children’s rights.
Malala has also written an autobiography, addressed the United Nations and set up a fund.
Last week, she won the European Union’s prestigious Sakharov human rights prize and was welcomed to the White House by US President Barack Obama.
Canadian Governor General David Johnston, in his Throne Speech, is also expected to list the economy and trade, crime fighting and consumer rights as the government’s main focus in the months ahead.