Sakharov laureate Malala Yousafzaï: "There is poverty, lack of freedom, fear and terrorism, but there is hope"  


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Malala Yousafzaï during her speech at the European Parliament 

Pakistani teenager Malala Yousafzaï made a passionate plea for more education as she accepted the 2013 Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought in Strasbourg. Ms Yousafzai, who was honoured for her fight to promote education for girls despite the threat of Taliban violence, said: "There is poverty, lack of freedom, fear and terrorism, but there is hope, because we are all here together united to help these children, to speak for them, to take action."

In her speech she said a country's strength should not be measured by its army, but by the number of educated people. She also called for more help for children out of education: "These children do not want an Iphone, an X-box, a Playstation or chocolates. They just want a book and a pen."

Malala Yousafzaï together with Martin Schulz and the laureates from previous years 

The ceremony during the November plenary coincided with the 25th anniversary of the award, given out by the European Parliament each year to honour exceptional people who fight against intolerance and oppression. As part of the celebration, 22 former laureates attended the event. EP president Martin Schulz asked for a standing ovation for them, adding: "Our thoughts go out to the other winners who are still deprived of their freedom, and to the winners who have left us, and our applause is for them as well. We have not forgotten them, or their struggles."

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