Tens of thousands of people around the world have signed an online petition calling for the Pakistani schoolgirl activist Malala Yousafzai, who survived an assassination attempt by the Taliban for advocating girls' education, to be nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.
A petition posted on Friday on global petition platform Change.org. by Pakistani-British woman Shahida Choudhary calls upon UK Prime Minister David Cameron and other top leaders to nominate the 15-year-old Pakistani teen rights activist for the most coveted Prize in recognition of her contribution to promote peace.
More than 30,000 people have signed the petition in Britain as part of a global campaign by women's rights advocates to nominate her for Nobel. Similar campaigns have sprung up in Canada, France and Spain.
The petition, addressed to British Foreign Secretary William Hague, Shadow Foreign Secretary Douglas Alexander and the three main party leaders - Premier David Cameron, Deputy Nick Clegg and Opposition Leader Ed Miliband, says "on October 9, 2012, Malala Yousafzai was shot in the head by a Taliban gunman in response to her campaign against the destruction of girls schools in Pakistan. In the face of terror, Malala risked her life to speak out for the rights of girls everywhere. Malala's bravery has sparked a global movement and we believe the Nobel Foundation should give her 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," the UK-born Shahida Choudhary added, citing her own experience.
She says the motto of this global campaign is "a Nobel Peace Prize for Malala will send a clear message that the world is watching and will support those who stand up for gender equality and universal human rights, including the right to education for girls."
This is a global campaign, calling on multiple countries to nominate Malala. While Tarek Fatah, the person who started the first 'Nobel Prize for Malala' petition, lives in Canada, almost half the people who have signed the petition come from countries from different continents.
Now people are setting up this same petition in their own country asking for their political leaders to come together to nominate Malala for the Nobel Prize.
Under the Nobel Committee's rules, a nomination for the Peace Prize may only be submitted by any person who meets the nomination criteria, prominent figures such as members of national assemblies and governments. The deadline for nomination is usually February, after which the Nobel Committee prepares a shortlist and the laureate announced in October.
The attack has drawn widespread international condemnation and Malala has become a powerful symbol of resistance to the Taliban's attempts to suppress women's rights.
Marking one month since her shooting, Saturday has been declared a global day of action in Malala's name aimed at getting school places for 32 millions girls around the world who are not attending classes.
UNESCO and the Pak government on December 10 will co-host a high-level advocacy event called "Standup for Malala - Stand up for Girls' Right to Education" in Paris. The event, which will coincide with the U.N. Human Rights Day, is designed to generate political will and accelerate action in favor of every girl's right to go to school.
The ninth-grade student was returning home in school van from her school in Mingora in the north-western Swat Valley on October 9 when she was shot on her head by Taliban gunmen.
Malala was unconscious and fighting for her life when she was airlifted to Britain after undergoing surgery that removed bullets pierced her head and neck. Doctors at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham where she is being treated says she is recuperating well.
On Friday it released photographs of Malala clutching a white teddy bear, listening to her father Ziauddin. "Malala is recovering well," according to him. Ziauddin said his daughter wanted him to tell the world "she has been inspired, and humbled by the thousands of messages, cards and gifts (she received). They have helped her survive and stay strong."
Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) claimed responsibility for the attack on Malala, and insisted that she and her father Ziauddin still remain their target despite a group of 50 Islamic clerics in Pakistan issuing a fatwa against those who tried to kill the innocent girl.
by RTT Staff Writer
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