Pakistan's Malala Yousafzai: Children around the world "should stand up for their rights"
India's Prime Minister congratulates winners for determination and courage
Pakistani PM Nawaz Sharif says Yousafzai has "made her countrymen proud"
India's Kailash Satyarthi says award honors everyone working for child rights
The Nobel Peace Prize was awarded Friday to India’s Kailash Satyarthi and Pakistan’s Malala Yousafzai for their struggles against the suppression of children and for young people’s rights, including the right to education.
Thorbjorn Jagland, chairman of the Norwegian Nobel Committee, said, “Children must go to school, not be financially exploited.”
Yousafzai came to global attention after she was shot in the head by the Taliban – two years ago Thursday – for her efforts to promote education for girls in Pakistan. Since then, after recovering from surgery, she has taken her campaign to the world stage, notably with a speech last year at the United Nations.
Through her heroic struggle, Yousafzai has become a leading spokeswoman for girls’ rights to education, said Jagland.
According to the Nobel committee, at 17 she’s the youngest ever peace prize winner.
Yousafzai said that the award is a “great honor for me,” and that she’s honored to share it with Satyarthi.
“I’m proud that I’m the first Pakistani and the first young woman or the first young person getting this award,” she said in Birmingham, England.
Yousafzai learned she won the award while she was in chemistry class in England on Friday morning, she said. She wasn’t expecting to get the award, and at 10:15 a.m., she was sure she hadn’t won. But soon afterward, a teacher called her over and told her she had.
Yousafzai said she continued to attend classes, and it was a “normal day,” besides teachers and fellow students congratulating her.
She said she doesn’t believe that she deserved the award but considers it an encouragement to continue her campaign and “to know that I’m not alone,” Yousafzai told reporters.
Her award will not mark the end of her campaign to advocate for girls’ education, she said.
“I think this is really the beginning,” she said, adding that children around the world “should stand up for their rights” and “not wait for someone else.”
Yousafzai spoke with Satyarthi by phone Friday, and they agreed to work together to advocate that every child is able to go to school. She said they also decided to try to build a stronger relationship between their countries, which are longtime rivals.
She said she wants the Prime Ministers of India and Pakistan to attend the December ceremony where she and Satyarthi will receive their awards. Peace between the two nations, Yousafzai said, is important for their progress.
Awarding the Peace Prize to a Pakistani Muslim and an Indian Hindu “gives a message to people of love between Pakistan and India, and between different religions,” Yousafzai said. The decision sends a message that all people, regardless of language and religion, should fight for the rights of women, children and every human being.
The Malala Fund, set up to promote girls’ education, said via Twitter that Yousafzai called the prize “an encouragement for me to go forward. It means we are standing together to ensure all children get quality education.”
Committee commends Satyarthi’s courage
Meanwhile, Satyarthi, age 60, has shown great personal courage in heading peaceful demonstrations focusing on the grave exploitation of children for financial gain, the committee said.
Satyarthi told reporters that the award was about many more people than him – and that credit should go to all those “sacrificing their time and their lives for the cause of child rights” and fighting child slavery.
“It is a great honor for all those children who are deprived of their childhood globally,” he said.
“It’s an honor to all my fellow Indians who have got this honor – it’s not just an honor for me, it’s an honor for all those fighting against child labor globally.”
‘She has made her countrymen proud’