LONDON (AFP) – Rights group Amnesty International announced on Tuesday it had awarded its highest honor to Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani teen shot in the head last year by the Taliban for campaigning for girls’ education.
Malala will share the 2013 Ambassador of Conscience Award with American singer and human rights activist Harry Belafonte, the London-based NGO revealed.
The award, which recognizes “individuals who have promoted and enhanced the cause of human rights through their life and by example,” will be presented by Irish rock singer Bono at a ceremony in Dublin, Ireland, on Tuesday.
“Our two new Ambassadors of Conscience are different from each other in many ways, but they share a dedication to the fight for human rights everywhere and for all,” said Salil Shetty, Secretary General of Amnesty International.
“Harry and Malala are truly Ambassadors of Conscience, speaking up for universal rights, justice and human dignity and inspiring others to follow their example.”
Malala was shot in the head by the Taliban on a school bus last October, an attack that drew worldwide condemnation.
She was flown to Britain for surgery for her head injuries and returned to school in Birmingham in March.
The 16-year-old said she was “truly honored” to receive the award.
“I would like to take the opportunity to remind everyone that there are many millions of children like me across the world who fight every single day for their right to go to school,” she added.
“I hope that by working together we will one day realize our dream of education for every child, in every corner of the world.”
Emmy award winner Belafonte paid tribute to his co-winner.
“I am especially honored to receive the Ambassador of Conscience Award because I am having the distinction of sharing this with Malala Yousafzai, a true hero of our time,” he said.
“My admiration for her is unending. She has awakened many in the global family to a commitment in struggle against tyranny. For all this I remain eternally grateful.”