Accessibility links

Pakistan's Malala, India's Satyarthi Share Nobel Peace Prize

  • RFE/RL

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai has dedicated her prize to "voiceless" children around the world and called on the prime ministers of rival neighbors India and Pakistan to attend the award ceremony in Oslo.

Speaking in the English city of Birmingham on October 10, Malala said she was "honored" to be the first Pakistani and the youngest person to ever be given the award.

Malala, 17, was shot in the head by the Taliban for advocating the right of girls to an education. She won the prestigious prize together with 60-year-old Indian child rights campaigner Kailash Satyarthi.

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."

The announcement followed days of deadly hostilities between longtime foes India and Pakistan in the disputed Kashmir region.

Malala said the award "gives a message of love between Pakistan and India, between different religions."

She said she had already spoken to Satyarthi to discuss how they could work together and also try to reduce tensions between their two countries.

Malala won the EU's prestigious Sakharov human rights prize last year.

She was shot in 2012 on a school bus in her native town of Mingora in the Swat Valley but recovered and has earned international plaudits for her advocacy.

She now lives in Britain.

Kailash Satyarthi (center) is congratulated on winning the Nobel Peace Prize at his office in New Delhi.

Kailash Satyarthi (center) is congratulated on winning the Nobel Peace Prize at his office in New Delhi.

Satyarthi, 60, has maintained the tradition of Mahatma Gandhi and headed peaceful protests "focusing on the grave exploitation of children for financial gain," the Nobel committee said.

Satyarthi said he was "delighted" to have won the prize, calling it "recognition of our fight for child rights."

He thanked the Nobel committee for "recognizing the plight of millions of children who are suffering in this modern age," according to the Press Trust of India.

Malala was at school in Birmingham when she was told of the award.

"Malala is at school as normal today," a spokeswoman said.

Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif called her the "pride of Pakistan."

"Her achievement is unparalleled and unequalled. Girls and boys of the world should take the lead from her struggle and commitment," he said in a statement.

In Malala's home region of Swat, many welcomed the news.

"This is a great honor for us, for our Pashtuns, for the Swat and Malalakand region that someone, a girl from this region, wins an international award," local resident Umbaidullah told RFE/RL's Radio Mashaal. "We are proud."

"Malala should strive for opening colleges and universities for girls, women in this region," said Salahuddin Yousafzai, a Swat resident.

Army doctors care for the seriously injured Malala, then 14, at an army hospital following the shooting in October 2012.

Army doctors care for the seriously injured Malala, then 14, at an army hospital following the shooting in October 2012.

In the southwestern city of Quetta, in Balochistan Province, a young girl named Salima Ashna cheered the news but told RFE/RL that girls across Pakistan still face challenges getting an education.

"I can't express how happy I am that Malala won this award. All the girls are happy. But unfortunately, in our region, they are not allowing girls to get education," she said. "I must tell you how eager I am to get an education, but my family does not allow me to get an education. It is my lifelong wish that they allow me -- even if by then I am 80 years old, I would still get an education."

The United Nations human rights chief, Zeid Ra'ad Al-Hussein, said awarding the prize to "two frontline human rights defenders who have championed the rights of the child sends an important message of support and recognition to individuals around the world tirelessly working to defend the rights of children."

The shared prize, worth some $1.1 million, was announced on October 10 and will be presented in Oslo on December 10.

With reporting by AFP, dpa, Reuters, and AP
XS
SM
MD
LG