» Stand up for Malala – Girls’ education is a right
05.12.2012 - UNESCOPRESS

Stand up for Malala – Girls’ education is a right

High-level event supporting girls’ education at UNESCO on 10 December

“Stand up for Malala -- Girls’ education is a right!” is the rallying cry of a high-level advocacy event, taking place at UNESCO’s Paris Headquarters on 10 December, United Nations Human Rights Day. Organized by UNESCO and the Government of Pakistan, it aims to accelerate political action to ensure every girl’s right to go to school, and to advancgirls’ education as an urgent priority.


Special tribute will be paid to Malala Yousafazi, an astonishingly brave 14-year-old girl who was the victim of an assassination attempt by the Taliban in October because of her determined efforts to defend girls’ education in her native Swat Valley. 


The President of Pakistan Asif Ali Zardari and UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova will open the event, which will be moderated by BBC news anchor Zeinab Badawi. UN Special Envoy for Global Education Gordon Brown will make a keynote address. Video messages from UN Secretary General Ban Ki moon, U.S Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and European Union High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton will be broadcast. 


Other speakers include French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault, UN Women Executive Director Michelle Bachelet, former President of Finland Tarja Halonen, Director-General of the Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ISESCO) Abdulaziz Othman Altwaijri and the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict Leila Zerrougui


Messages of support for Malala will be read out by children from several schools in the Paris area who are also representing different regions of the world.


Girls make up the majority of the world’s 61 million out-of-school children. They are less likely than boys to enter into and complete school. Only 39 percent of countries have an equal proportion of girls and boys enrolled at the secondary level. Obstacles to girls enrolling in or completing school include harmful practices such as early marriage and pregnancy, gender stereotyping and gender-based violence, as well as discrimination in the learning environment that overlaps with poverty and geographic isolation, as well as wider forms of injustice against women and girls.




“Stand up for Malala -- Girls’ education is a right!” will take place in Room 1 from 10.30 am


At 12.55, President Asif Ali Zardari and the Director-General will make short statements to the press




Journalists wishing to attend the event require accreditation.

For accreditation and more information, including the full programme and list of participants contact:


Sue Williams

Tel: +33 (0)1 4568 1706; +33 (0)6 5 92 93 62





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