At a time when India and Pakistan are going through tensions at the border, the South Asian neighbours on Friday shared a moment of honour.
Chairman of the Norwegian Nobel Committee, Thorbjoern Jagland, announced here that Indian children’s rights activist Kailash Satyarthi and Pakistani schoolgirl Malala Yousafzai have won this year’s Nobel Peace Prize. With the prize, Yousafzai, 17, becomes the youngest Nobel Prize winner, eclipsing Australian-born British scientist Lawrence Bragg, who was 25 when he shared the Physics Prize with his father in 1915.
While making the announcement, Jagland said: “Children must go to school, not be financially exploited. In the poor countries of the world, 60 percent of the present population is under 25 years of age. It is a prerequisite for peaceful global development that the rights of children and young people be respected. In conflict-ridden areas in particular, the violation of children leads to the continuation of violence from generation to generation.”
The Norwegian Nobel Committee cited the two “for their struggle against the suppression of children and young people and for the right of all children to education.”
Satyarthi has maintained the tradition of Mahatma Gandhi and headed various forms of peaceful protests, “focusing on the grave exploitation of children for financial gain,” the Nobel committee said.
“He has also contributed to the development of important international conventions on children’s rights,” it added.
After winning the award, Satyarthi said it was an honour for his fellow Indians. “I am thankful to those who supported me,” added Satyarthi.
Yousafzai is a schoolgirl and education campaigner who was shot in the head by a Taliban gunman in Pakistan two years ago.
“Despite her youth, Malala Yousafzai has already fought for several years for the right of girls to education, and has shown by example that children and young people, too, can contribute to improving their own situations. This she has done under the most dangerous circumstances. Through her heroic struggle she has become a leading spokesperson for girls’ rights to education,” the Norwegian Nobel Committee said.
“The Nobel Committee regards it as an important point for a Hindu and a Muslim, an Indian and a Pakistani, to join in a common struggle for education and against extremism. Many other individuals and institutions in the international community have also contributed. It has been calculated that there are 168 million child labourers around the world today. In 2000, the figure was 78 million higher. The world has come closer to the goal of eliminating child labour,” it added.
The prize, worth about USD 1.1 million, will be presented in Oslo on December 10, the anniversary of the death of Swedish industrialist Alfred Nobel, who founded the award in his 1895 will.
Last year’s Peace Prize winner was the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.
The winners were selected from a list of 278 nominees, including 47 organisations, the Nobel committee said.
The Nobel committee`s deliberations continued almost until the last minute and a decision wasn`t reached until last week, public broadcaster NRK reported.