11/10/2012, 00.00
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Malala Day: a petition to award the Nobel Prize for Peace to Malala Yousafzai

Tens of thousands of people around the world support the initiative to reward the courage of the child activist who defied Taliban madness. 30 days on from the attack on her life , the UN secretary general announces today a world day dedicated to her. Slight improvement in her health conditions.

Islamabad (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Tens of thousands of people around the world have signed an online petition, asking that the Nobel Peace Prize be awarded to Malala Yousafzai, the 15 year old Pakistani activist targeted by the Taliban for her fight in favor of education for girls. Meanwhile, on the initiative of the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, today has been declared Malala Day, a day dedicated to the young girl who - according to the latest medical reports - is slowly recovering from the surgery to which she has been subjected to save her life. 30 days exactly from the fundamentalists attack (which took place on October 9 last), the greatest exponent of the United Nations wanted to pay tribute to the girl as "an inspiration for women's education around the world."

Yesterday, the UN special envoy for Global Education visited Pakistan, where he met with President Asif Ali Zardari, the United Nations diplomat gave the Head of State a petition signed by over a million people requesting that "the education of girls becomes a reality in Pakistan."

Meanwhile, tens of thousands of people have signed the online petition, supporting her candidacy for the Nobel Prize for Peace next year. The UK Government has backed the campaign, saying  Malala represents all those denied the right to study. Support for the initiative has surprised even the girl's father, Ziauddin, who confirms her "good recovery", still incredulous for the thousands of messages, cards and gifts received from every corner of the world. "They have helped her to survive - the parent adds - and fight with great strength."

Malala Yousafzai - winner of the national youth award - October 9 last was the victim of aTaliban attack in the Swat Valley, a mountainous area in the province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, bordering Afghanistan, a stronghold of Muslim extremists. She was shot while he was on board the school bus that was to take her home, after her morning lessons. The girl had become famous in 2009 at the age of 11, for keeping a blog on the local language site of the BBC in which she denounced the attacks by Pakistani Islamists against girls and women's educational institutions, to prevent them from studying and emancipation. Within her virtual diary, Malala bore witness to the cruelty of the Taliban and the violence through which they maintain power, terrorizing the local population.

The northwestern border is considered a stronghold of the Taliban, to such an extent that in some areas Shariah and the Islamic Courts are imposed, called to judge disputes, as well as behaviors and rules of morality. Hundreds of schools - even Christian - have been closed only in the Swat Valley, jeopardizing the education of tens of thousands of students and the work of about 8 thousand female teachers.

The education of the new generations is one of the paths that the government must take to overcome poverty and to ensure genuine development to the nation, as outlined in AsiaNews's special dossier (see Education can stop the Taliban in Pakistan). Among the few organisations to remain at length in the area was a group of Carmelite nuns from Sri Lanka who, with courage and determination, were engaged in the promotion of women's education (see AsiaNews 22/06/ Sinhalese Carmelites educate girls in Pakistan), however, the sisters were forced to leave after a year and a half of constant threats from Islamic fundamentalists.


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For Pakistani Christians and Muslims, Nobel Prize to Malala helps fight for human rights in the country
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