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Malala Yousafzai has not been ‘silent about human rights abuses in Pakistan’

Tweet claiming as such has been viewed over 284,300 views

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Claim: Malala Yousafzai “is silent about human rights abuses in Pakistan”.

Fact: Soch Fact Check has identified at least 14 instances since the start of 2018 wherein Malala has spoken up about human rights or condemned human rights abuses in Pakistan.

On 30 July 2023, Twitter user @MerruX responded to a tweet by Malala Yousafzai, writing (archive), “This Barbie is silent about human rights abuses in Pakistan.”

Malala Yousafzai — a Pakistani Nobel laureate and education activist who survived an assassination attempt by the Taliban in 2012 for her work and blogging — had tweeted a photo of herself alongside her husband, Asser Malik, when they went to watch the 2023 movie, “Barbie”.

“This Barbie has a Nobel Prize 💖 He’s just Ken,” she wrote alongside the photo of herself and Malik standing inside a Barbie booth.

The phrase “This Barbie has…” is a meme (archive) inspired by the Warner Bros. movie — which has so far bagged a massive $93 million (archive) on the box office — wherein people talk about themselves and their partners or famous couples, comparing the respective significant other to Ken.

“The comparison between Ken and Barbie is based on the fact that the Barbie universe revolves around her, while Ken is seen simply as a love interest who doesn’t add much value to the narrative,” wrote The Express Tribune (archive).

Fact or Fiction?

Soch Fact Check scrolled through Malala’s Twitter account as far back as January 2018 and found that the 26-year-old activist has raised her voice on multiple occasions regarding different developments and causes.

2023

On 18 May 2023, she spoke up (archive) about a shooting incident that left at least one dead when a security guard opened fire (archive) on a school van in Swat.

On 30 January 2023, she tweeted (archive) about a bombing (archive) at a mosque in Peshawar’s Police Lines area that left dozens of people dead.

2022

On 3 November 2022, Malala condemned (archive) a gun attack on Pakistan’s former prime minister and chief of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), Imran Khan, that left him wounded in the leg (archive).

On 13 October 2022, she voiced (archive) protest against an attack (archive) on a school van in Swat’s Charbagh area that left the driver dead and at least one child injured.

On 24 September 2022, the activist said (archive) she spoke to Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif about the “reappearance of Pakistani Taliban in my hometown of Swat Valley & other parts of KP [Khyber Pakhtunkhwa] province”.

On 4 March 2022, when more than 50 people were killed (archive) in a suicide blast at Peshawar’s Kucha Risaldar, Malala called (archive) on Pakistan’s “leaders [to] guarantee safety to all”.

2021

On 31 August 2021, she joined (archive) a call by António Guterres, the United Nations (UN) Secretary-General, against enforced disappearances in Pakistan, demanding the state accelerate its effort to “prevent enforced disappearances, release abducted victims, and grant justice to the families”.

On 7 January 2021, she mourned (archive) the killing (archive) of 11 coal miners belonging to the Hazara minority community in Pakistan’s Balochistan province and called the then-PM Imran Khan to “meet with the victims’ families as soon as possible”.

2019

Twice in 2019 — on 14 September (archive) and 8 August (archive) — Malala spoke up about the predicament of the people of Kashmir.

On 4 July 2019, during an #AskMalala session on Twitter where she answers questions from the public, she responded to a person asking about child marriages, the kidnapping of young Hindu girls, and persecution of minorities, saying (archive), “Child marriage is wrong and no girl should be getting married before the age of 18 and marriage should be a personal choice of that girl; the girl should be able to finish her education”.

“No person — no child especially — should be forced to accept a faith and should be forced to convert into any religion,” she said.

2018

On 3 August 2018, when unidentified individuals burned down (archive) at least a dozen schools in Gilgit-Baltistan’s Diamer district, she spoke out (archive) against the incident.

On 12 July 2018, Malala said she was “saddened” (archive) by the death of at least 12 people, including Awami National Party (ANP) leader Haroon Bilour, in a targeted blast (archive) in Peshawar.

On 10 January 2018, she urged (archive) the government and the authorities to take action against the brutal rape and murder of seven-year-old Zainab Ansari, whose body was found (archive) in a garbage dump in Kasur in Pakistan’s Punjab province.

It may be argued that a popular figure has or has not spoken about every single human rights abuse in Pakistan, making such a statement subjective; however, a blanket claim that Malala Yousafzai has been “silent about human rights abuses in Pakistan” altogether, is misleading, to say the least.

Virality

Soch Fact Check found that the tweet by @MerruX has been viewed more than 284,300 views.

The tweet has also received over 70 comments and 150 retweets, as well as close to 4,000 likes.

Multiple other Twitter users have made the same or similar comments here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here.

Conclusion: Soch Fact Check has identified at least 14 instances since the start of 2018 wherein Malala has spoken up about human rights or condemned human rights abuses in Pakistan.


Background image in cover photo: @malala


To submit an appeal on our fact-check, please send an email to appeals@sochfactcheck.com

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