(NEW YORK) – Steven Hawkins, who took the helm of Amnesty International USA as executive director last month, issued the following statement today to acknowledge the importance of preventing gender-based violence and ensuring the right to education for all:
"This week marks one year since the Taliban failed to silence a brave, 15-year-old Pakistani girl we all now know as Malala. The Taliban may have shot Malala, but it utterly failed to silence her call for equal access to education and other human rights for women and girls. Before that day and ever since, Malala Yousafzai has used peaceful activism to stand up for her own classmates in Pakistan as well as women worldwide, and to teach us that every individual has the power to change the world.
"Amnesty International USA applauds Malala's courage and shares her vision of a world in which all children can go to school in a safe environment where they are respected, allowed to learn freely and given a chance to rise to their full potential, whatever their gender.
"Gender-based violence comes in many forms, and it is usually not as dramatic as a gunshot to the head. It was discrimination against women and girls that prompted Malala to speak out. As we mark a year since Malala's attack, and celebrate her continued activism, Amnesty International renews its commitment to building a movement in which girls can exercise their full range of rights and are equally valued in every realm of life, from the classroom to the marketplace to the workplace."
Amnesty International is a Nobel Peace Prize-winning grassroots activist organization with more than 3 million members in more than 150 countries campaigning for human rights worldwide. The organization investigates and exposes abuses, educates and mobilizes the public, and works to protect people wherever justice, freedom, truth and dignity are denied.