LONDON: More than 87,000 people had signed a global petition calling for Malala Yousufzai to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, campaigners said on Friday.
“A Nobel Peace Prize for Malala will send a clear message that the world is watching and will support those who stand up for the right of girls to get an education,” said Shahida Choudhary, a British campaigner involved in the petition.
Ms Choudhary said she wanted British Prime Minister David Cameron and prominent politicians to write to the Nobel committee in Sweden to recommend Malala for the award.
“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,” she added. The petition at Change.org was originally started in Canada by Tarek Fatah, a writer and broadcaster. Malala thanked her global supporters on Friday, one month on from the attack in which she was injured.
“She wants me to tell everyone how grateful she is and is amazed that men, women and children from across the world are interested in her wellbeing,” said her father Ziauddin Yousufzai.
“We deeply feel the heart-touching good wishes of the people across the world of all caste, colour and creed,” he said in a statement issued by the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham, where Malala is being treated.
Her father added: “I am awfully thankful to all the peace-loving well-wishers who strongly condemn the assassination attempt on Malala, who pray for her health and support the grand cause of peace, education, freedom of thought and freedom of expression.”
The hospital on Friday published photos of Malala sitting and reading a book, while others showed her poring over get-well cards. The Pakistani Taliban claimed to have targeted Malala because of her ‘pioneering role’ in calling for girls’ education, and because of her general criticism of the terrorist group.
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has endorsed the move to observe Saturday (today) as the Global Day of Action for Malala Yousufzai. In a video message posted on the UN website, he said: “Malala Yousufzai is the global symbol of every girl’s right to an education.
“On November 10th, 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. 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 other girls and boys throughout the world.”