Mr. Speaker, last week, the European Union awarded the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought to Malala Yousafzai, the courageous 16-year-old girl from Pakistan and soon-to-be honorary Canadian citizen, assaulted and still threatened by the Taliban for insisting upon her right to go to school.
Andrei Sakharov, the great Soviet dissident, whom I had the privilege to represent, once told me that his favourite part of the Helsinki Final Act was its affirmation of the right to know and act upon one's rights.
Through her words and deeds, Malala has not only demonstrated a profound understanding of her rights and an unbending determination to act upon them but has inspired many others, especially young women, in Pakistan and around the world with her courage and determination. As Malala said upon receiving the award:
Many children have no food to eat, no water to drink, and children are starving for education. It is alarming that 57 million children are deprived of education. This must shake our conscience...
I invite all hon. members to offer Malala our congratulations and our solidarity as she continues her valiant struggle for access to education, equality, and human dignity.