Malala and Kailash Satyarthi win Nobel Peace Prize

  • 10 October 2014
  • From the section Europe
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Media captionMalala Yousafzai said she was in a chemistry lesson when she heard the news

Pakistani child education activist Malala Yousafzai and Kailash Satyarthi, an Indian child rights campaigner, have jointly won the Nobel Peace Prize.

At the age of just 17, Malala is the youngest ever recipient of the prize.

The teenager was shot in the head by Taliban gunmen in October 2012 for campaigning for girls' education. She now lives in Birmingham in the UK.

Malala said she was "honoured" to receive the award, saying it made her feel "more powerful and courageous".

She revealed she found out the news after being called out of her chemistry class at her school in Birmingham.

"I'm really happy to be sharing this award with a person from India," she said at a news conference, before joking that she couldn't pronounce Mr Satyarthi's surname.

The Nobel committee praised the pair's "struggle against the suppression of children and young people".

Mr 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 committee said at the Nobel Institute in Oslo.

The 60-year-old founded Bachpan Bachao Andolan, or the Save the Childhood Movement, which campaigns for child rights and an end to human trafficking.

Reacting to the news, Mr Satyarthi told the BBC: "It's a great honour for all the Indians, it's an honour for all those children who have been still living in slavery despite of all the advancement in technology, market and economy.

"And I dedicate this award to all those children in the world."

Media captionThorbjorn Jagland head of Nobel committee, cited Malala's "heroic struggle"

'Heroic struggle'

Thorbjorn Jagland, chairman of the Norwegian Nobel Committee, paid tribute to Malala's achievements.

"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," he said.

"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 committee said it was important that a Muslim and a Hindu, a Pakistani and an Indian, had joined in what it called a common struggle for education and against extremism.

Image caption Kailash Satyarthi, seen here making a film in 1996, has fought for the rights of child labourers

The view from Birmingham: Phil Mackie, BBC News

When she opened the Library of Birmingham last year, Malala Yousafzai charmed the crowd by referring to them as "fellow Brummies". It was a deft touch from a teenager who many believe is destined for a life in politics either here or in her native Pakistan.

She arrived in the city in horrific circumstances after surviving an assassination attempt and was treated at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, home to the Royal Centre for Defence Medicine.

The expertise gained by medics who are used to patching up wounded troops from conflict zones, meant it was the best place for her treatment.

She remains an outpatient, and today the hospital trust praised her for her "remarkable recovery and fight to lead a full life as a vibrant and spirited teenager".

This year's prize is likely to be seen as an uncontroversial choice from a Norwegian Nobel committee which has not shied away from controversy in recent years, says the BBC's Lars Bevanger in Oslo.

Norway's relations with China are still suffering after a Chinese dissident won the peace prize in 2010, our correspondent adds.

Malala and Mr Satyarthi will now be invited to attend an award ceremony in Oslo in December to receive a medal and $1.4m (£860,000) pounds in prize money.

'Pride of Pakistan'

Malala first came to attention in 2009 after she wrote an anonymous diary for BBC Urdu about life under Taliban rule in north-west Pakistan.

She was shot when gunmen boarded her school bus in the Swat Valley.

Media captionKailash Satyarthi said Malala was a 'wonderful young lady'

She has since recovered from the attack and has remained in the public eye, publishing an autobiography and addressing the UN General Assembly.

Pakistan's Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif congratulated Malala Yousafzai, calling her the "pride" of his country.

"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.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi joined thousands of Twitter users praising the pair, saying the entire nation was proud of Mr Satyarthi's "momentous achievement".

He also congratulated Malala for her "journey of immense grit and courage".

Malala was named one of Time magazine's most influential people in 2013, and awarded the EU's prestigious Sakharov human rights prize that year.

Media captionSchoolgirls in Islamabad say they "are so very proud" of Malala Yousafzai

She had been hotly tipped to win last year's Nobel Peace Prize.

Her win in 2014 takes the number of women awarded the prize to 16 out of 95.

This year's record number of 278 Nobel Peace Prize nominees included Pope Francis and Congolese gynaecologist Denis Mukwege, although the full list was kept a secret.

Former NSA contractor Edward Snowden and Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta had also been tipped as favourites for the award.

Nobel peace prize


Nobel Peace Prizes have been awarded 1901-2014

  • 16 women have been awarded the prize, including Malala Yousafzai

  • 17 Malala's age, making her the youngest ever laureate

  • 62 average age of laureates when they were awarded the prize

  • 3 laureates were under arrest at the time of the award: Carl von Ossietzky, Aung San Suu Kyi & Liu Xiaobo

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