Pakistani schoolgirl and education activist, Malala Yousufzai, and Indian children’s rights activist, Kailash Satyarthi, have been jointly awarded the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize.
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.”
Children must go to school and not be financially exploited. In conflict-ridden areas in particular, the violation of children leads to the continuation of violence from generation to generation.
Awarding the prize, the committee said that peaceful global development could only come about if children and the young are respected.
Malala, 17, is the youngest person to be awarded the prestigious honour. She was shot in the head by the Taliban in 2012 after campaigning for more access to education for girls and has since become recognisable worldwide.
Speaking to reporters following the announcement, Yousafzai said she was “honoured to be awarded the prize.”
“This is not the end of my campaign, but the beginning,” she said.
Satyarthi, 60, 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 led the rescue of tens of thousands of child slaves and developed a successful model for their education and rehabilitation.
Reacting to his award shortly after it was announced, Satyarthi told Al Jazeera that he was very thankful to the Nobel committee and that this recognition “is the recognition of many voices of children who are victims of servitude, not just in India but the across the world”.
He said that it was an honour for his country, and he hoped the award would encourage the Indian government to pay more attention to the plight of children who are forced to work.
“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,” the committee said during Friday’s announcement in Norway’s capital, Oslo.
“Children must go to school and not be financially exploited,” it said.
“In conflict-ridden areas in particular, the violation of children leads to the continuation of violence from generation to generation.”
All the awards will be formally handed out on December 10 in Oslo.