For Immediate Release
The struggle of 14-year-old Malala Yousufzai to ensure access to education for girls is important not just for Pakistan, but for women around the world, says the U.S.-based peace group CODEPINK and its delegation that is in Pakistan to condemn the US use of drones. A faction of the Taliban claimed credit for attacking the girl from the Swat region on October 9 in retaliation for her outspoken opposition to its attempts to keep girls home from school. The attack left the young girl in critical condition.
“We came to Pakistan to protest American drone attacks that have killed hundreds of innocent people,” said Medea Benjamin, a founder of Codepink and leader of the 31-member delegation that participated in a historic convoy to Waziristan Oct. 6 to visit with the people most affected by the drone strikes. “But we stand in solidarity with Pakistanis, especially the women, as they fight all of the forces that are working against human rights in their country. We are praying for Malala’s quick recovery and return to school.”
To show their support for Malala’s plight, Codepink is offering US$1,000 to her school. In addition, the delegation is joining other women and human rights groups in a solidarity demonstration at 5 p.m. today in front of the Islamabad Press Club.
The delegates see a connection between drone attacks and growing extremism in Pakistan. A recent report from Stanford University called drone attacks an effective “recruiting tool” for extremists. “ We oppose all forms of terrorism,” said delegate leader Tighe Barry, “and we stand with the people of Pakistan who are fighting for both national sovereignty and individual freedoms.”