60-year-old Satyarthi, who runs an NGO in India that has been in the forefront of rescuing children from forced labour and trafficking, and 17-year-old Malala, who shot to limelight after the Taliban militants shot bullets into her for advocating education for girls, were named by the Nobel Peace Prize Committee for the top global award this year.
“The Norwegian Nobel Committee has decided that the Nobel Peace Prize for 2014 is to be awarded to Kailash Satyarthi and Malala Yousafzai for their struggle against the suppression of children and young people and for the right of all children to education,” the jury said.
Satyarthi, who runs NGO Bachpan Bachao Aandolan (Save Childhood Movement), 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.
The Committee said it “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.”
Malala, who was nominated in the peace prize category, last year also, had displayed tremendous courage even after the Taliban attack when she resolutely expressed her determination to carry on with her campiagn for child rights and girls education especially in a country like Pakistan.
She has become the youngest Nobel laureate.
After receiving the award, Satyarthi said that his honour is for all the citizens of India and he will continue his work for welfare of children.
Satyarthi, the second Indian after Mother Teresa to be named for the peace prize, and Malala join a select league of eminent international personalities who have shared the Nobel Peace Prize for their outstanding work in furthering world peace and in other fields.
This year’s record number of 278 nominees included Pope Francis and Congolese Gynaecologist Denis Mukwege, although the full list was kept a secret.