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Minister Costello congratulates Malala Yousafzai on receiving Peace Award

The Minister for Trade and Development Joe Costello T.D., addressed the Tipperary International Peace Award ceremony this evening at which Malala Yousafzai was awarded the Tipperary International Peace Award for 2012. Speaking after his address the Minister said:

“I want to congratulate Malala on receiving this award. I applaud her singular bravery and I am delighted her efforts to champion human rights in the face of intimidation and adversity have been honoured this evening.”

This year’s award is being made to Malala Yousafzai, a 16-year-old Pakistani education activist, who was attacked by Taliban gunmen last October after she campaigned for girls to be allowed go to school without fear. In selecting her for the award, the Tipperary Peace Convention have recognised Malala's courage, determination and perseverance, along with the impact she has had on so many people across the world. Ms Yousafzai joins Nelson Mandela, Mikhail Gorbachev and former President Mary McAleese and Dr. Martin McAleese as recipients of the award. Malala is the youngest ever recipient.

In his speech, Minister Costello highlighted Malala’s efforts to promote access to education for all:

“I admire Malala’s courageous efforts to promote the fundamental right to education for every child and her efforts to achieve access to education for women and girls in Pakistan and other regions worldwide.  As a former teacher I know the importance of education from an early age, for girls and boys alike, and I share Malala’s passion for promoting this.”

Minister Costello also spoke about the emphasis that Ireland places on promoting education through its international development programme:

“Ireland’s overseas development programme focuses on addressing girls’ education in a number of ways. These include through the recruitment and deployment of female teachers to areas where girls’ school attendance is low and through providing scholarships for girls to attend secondary schools in key partner countries, such as Uganda, Zambia and Lesotho. Our programme also seeks to strengthen the capacity of national education systems to more effectively facilitate the transition of girls to second level education by mapping, targeting, monitoring and supporting girls who are vulnerable to exclusion from the school system.”

Minister Costello added:

“Ireland has recently been elected to serve on the United Nations Human Rights Council. Amongst our priorities for our three year term will be the promotion of the human rights of children, including their right to education, and the promotion and protection of human rights defenders.”