The European Parliament's Conference of Presidents has today named 16-year-old Pakistani girl Malala Yousafzai as the 2013  winner of the Sakharov prize, ahead of GUE/NGL candidate Edward Snowden and the three Belarus dissidents Ales Bialatski, Eduard Lobau and Mykola Statkevich who were put forward by two other groups.

Malala Yousafzai fought actively for girls and women's rights to education in Pakistan's Swat Valley, where the Taliban regime had banned girls from attending school. After a failed assassination attempt on her life by Taliban gunmen in October 2012, she has become the symbol of the fight for girls and women's rights  to education across the globe.

“We welcome the awarding of the Sakharov prize to Malala Yousafzai, in recompense for her courage and her determination to improve the lives of girls and women in her native country and worldwide,” said GUE/NGL President Gabi Zimmer. 

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