Malala becomes honorary Canada citizen, praises refugee welcome

Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau (R) presents Pakistani Nobel Peace Prize laureate Malala Yousafzai with honorary Canadian citizenship during a ceremony in the Library of Parliament on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, April 12, 2017. REUTERS/Chris Wattie

OTTAWA (Reuters) - Nobel laureate Malala Yousafzai on Wednesday received honorary Canadian citizenship and praised Canada’s open embrace of refugees under the Liberal government of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Canada last year accepted 25,000 refugees from Syria and in January, when U.S. President Donald Trump issued an immigration ban on people from seven Muslim-majority countries, Trudeau pointedly tweeted that refugees were welcome in Canada.

“Your motto and your stand - Welcome to Canada - is more than a headline or a hashtag,” Yousafzai said in an address to legislators in the Canadian Parliament.

“I pray that you continue to open your homes and your hearts to the world’s most defenseless children and families,” she said.

Yousafzai, an Pakistani education activist who came to prominence when a Taliban gunman shot her in the head in 2012, is only the sixth person to receive honorary Canadian citizenship.

Other recipients include Nelson Mandela and the Dalai Lama.

Reporting by David Ljunggren, Editing by Franklin Paul