Indian child rights activist Kailash Satyarthi alongwith Pakistan’s Malala Yousafzay wins Nobel peace award 2014

The Norwegian Noble Committee has decided that the Nobel Peace Prize for 2014 is to be awarded to  India’s Kailash Satyarthi and Pakistan’s Malala Yousafzay for their struggle against the suppression of children and young people and for the right of all children to education.

Kailash Satyarthi is the eighth Indian to win a Nobel Prize, and third Indian to win a Nobel Prize for Peace.  He won the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize along with Pakistan’s child rights activist Malala Yousafzai, who herself is 17 years old.

The citation for the prize-winners reads as follows: “for their struggle against the suppression of children and young people and for the right of all children to education”

Showing great personal courage, Kailash Satyarthi, maintaining Gandhi’s tradition, has headed various forms of protests and demonstrations, all peaceful, focusing on the grave exploitation of children for financial gain.  He has also contributed to the development of important international conventions on children’s rights.

Indian child rights activist Kailash Satyarthi alongwith Pakistan's Malala Yousafzay wins Nobel peace award 2014

Indian child rights activist Kailash Satyarthi alongwith Pakistan’s Malala Yousafzay wins Nobel peace award 2014

Despite her youth, Malala Yousafzay 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 struggle against suppression and for the rights of children and adolescents contributes to the realization of the “fraternity between nations” that Alfred Nobel mentions in his will as one of the criteria for the Nobel Peace Prize.

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.

Satyarthi, 60, founded Bachpan Bachao Andolan – or Save the Childhood Movement – in 1980 and has acted to protect the rights of 80,000 children.

It’s an honour to all my fellow Indians. I am thankful to all those who have been supporting my striving for more than the last 30 years,” said Satyarthi.

Sharanya Bharathwaj

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