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Recognition of Child Rights: Indian & Pakistani Share Nobel Peace Prize (Kailash Satyarthi and Malala Yusufzai)
Oct 11, 2014

History was made on October 10 when an Indian and a Pakistani jointly declared winner of the Nobel Peace Prize for 2014. India's Kailash Satyarthi and Pakistan's Malala Yousafzai are chosen for the Nobel Peace Prize for showing great personal courage and their struggle against the suppression of children and young people and for the right of all children to education.

Kailash Satyarthi is a child rights activist born in Vidisha (M.P.). He studied engineering at the Govt Engineering College, Vidisha and gave up his career as an electrical engineer over three decades ago to start Bachpan Bachao Andolan. Today, this NGO is leading the movement to eliminate child trafficking and child labour in India. The organisation has been working towards rescuing trafficked children for over 30 years. It receives information from a large network of volunteers.

On the other hand, despite her youth, Pakistani teenager Malala 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' right to education.

Malala, now 17, was shot in the head by a Taliban gunman two years ago in Pakistan after coming to prominence for her campaigning for education for girls. She won for what the Nobel committee called her heroic struggle for girls’ right to an education. She is the youngest ever winner of the prize.

After being shot she was airlifted to Queen Elizabeth hospital in Birmingham, where she was treated for life-threatening injuries. She has since continued to campaign for girls’ education, speaking before the UN, meeting Barack Obama, being named one of Time magazine’s 100 most influential people and last year publishing the memoir I am Malala. 

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 Institute in Oslo saw a record 278 candidates for the Nobel peace prize for 2014. Around 47 of these were organizations. The committee had said that 278 is the highest number of candidates ever. The previous record was 259 from 2013. The Nobel peace prize has been awarded to 124 laureates—to 100 individuals and 24 organizations till now.

Since the International Committee of the Red Cross was awarded three times and Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees was awarded twice there are 100 individuals and 21 organizations that have been awarded 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. 

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