Human Rights Organization States that Early Indications Suggest Targeted Shooting
Contact: Sharon Singh, [email protected], 202-675-8579, @spksingh
(Washington, D.C.) –Amnesty International has denounced the Taliban for its “shocking act of violence” after the organization claimed responsibility for the shooting of a 14-year-old Pakistani human rights activist in Swat Valley.
Gunmen opened fire on Malala Yousufzai and a friend as they were traveling home from school in the town of Mingora. Yousufzai was hit by two bullets and is now being treated at an area hospital for her wounds. Early indications suggested a targeted shooting, with one local report suggesting one of the gunmen asked for her by name before opening fire.
Yousufzai has campaigned for girls’ access to education in her region since the age of 11. Her father ran one of the last girls’ schools to defy a Taliban ban against female education in Swat Valley. Both Yousufzai and her family have received threats from the Taliban in the past.
Mustafa Qadri, Amnesty International Pakistan researcher said:
“This was a shocking act of violence against a 14-year-old girl who has bravely been fighting for her right to education. We condemn it in the strongest possible terms. This attack highlights the extremely dangerous climate many human rights activists face in northwestern Pakistan, where female activists in particular live under constant threats from the Taliban and other militant groups. In the last twelve months, at least two activists working on women’s education, Farida Afridi and Zarteef Afridi, were killed in a wave of targeted attacks by the Taliban and other groups in the region.
Retaking territory from the Taliban in these areas is not a sufficient measure of success for the Pakistan authorities. Damaged education infrastructure must be rebuilt, especially girls’ schools, their rights to education guaranteed and their safety assured, and Malala must be provided with adequate protection.
The Pakistan authorities must demonstrate by their actions that they are committed to giving women and girls the same opportunities as men and boys, despite threats from the Taliban and other groups.”
Amnesty International is a Nobel Peace Prize-winning grassroots activist organization with more than 3 million supporters, activists and volunteers 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.