UNESCO Headquarters, Paris, 10 December 2012 - "Today, we mark the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. That landmark document is clear: education is a universal human right for all," stated the UN Secretary-General BAN Ki-moon in a video message at a high-level event held as part of the celebrations for Human Rights Day at UNESCO headquarters in Paris.
The event reinforces the momentum provided by the "Education First" initiative launched earlier this year by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, which calls on governments, international organizations, civil society, the private sector and religious leaders to make girls' education a priority.
UN Secretary-General video remarks:
Your Excellency, Mr. Asif Ali Zardari President of Pakistan,
Your Highness, Mr. Sheikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan,
Minister for Foreign Affairs of the United Arab Emirates, Ahmed Muhammad Ahmed el-Tayeb, Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, Egypt, Director-General Irina Bokova, of UNESCO, Executive Director Michelle Bachelet, of UNWomen, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,
I thank the Government of Pakistan and UNESCO for standing up for Malala Yusufzai and girls' education.
Today, we mark the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
That landmark document is clear: education is a universal human rights for all.
Every girl and boy must have the right to dream of a better world and the skills and tools to build it.
That is the power of education.
That is the spirit of my new global initiative, Education First.
Girls face the greatest barriers -- yet girls' education yields the greatest benefits .. for girls ... for families ... and for communities.
Despite that truth, girls comprise most of the world's out-of-school children.
They face discrimination and violence -- simply because they are girls.
Nowhere should it be an act of bravery for a young girl to go to school.
Like so many in Pakistan and around the world, I was deeply moved by Malala Yousufzai's courage to champion education for women and girls.
The "I am Malala" campaign -- spearheaded by my Special Envoy for Global Education, Mr. Gordon Brown -- gathered over 2 million signatures from the international community and Pakistan citizens.
The government of Pakistan is responding with the Parliament voting to make education free and compulsory for all children.
Malala is truly a role model not only for Pakistan, but the world.
Thank you for standing up for all that she stands for Girls' education. The right to education for all.
I am proud to join with you.
Thank you for your commitment and action.