11 Oct 2014

Malala Yousafzai wins Peace Prize

7:42 am on 11 October 2014

Pakistani teenager Malala Yousafzai, shot in the head by the Taliban two years ago for advocating girls' right to education, has won the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize.

Malala Yousafzai.

Malala Yousafzai. Photo: AFP

At 17, Miss Yousafzai is the youngest person ever to receive the honour today and shares it with Indian children's right advocate Kailash Satyarthi.

She eclipsed Australian-born British scientist Lawrence Bragg, who was 25 when he shared the Physics Prize with his father in 1915.

Miss Yousafzai and Mr Satyarthi were picked for their struggle against the suppression of children and young people, and for the right of all children to education, the Norwegian Nobel Committee said.

Mr Satyarthi has headed various forms of peaceful protests and demonstrations, focusing on the exploitation of children for financial gain.

"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," Thorbjoern Jagland, the head of the Norwegian Nobel Committee, said today.

"It has been calculated that there are 168 million child labourers around the world today," he said. "In 2000 the figure was 78 million higher. The world has come closer to the goal of eliminating child labour."

In 2012, Malala Yousafzai was attacked in 2012 on a school bus in the Swat Valley in northwest Pakistan by masked gunmen as a punishment for a blog that she started writing for the BBC's Urdu service as an 11-year-old to campaign against the Taliban's efforts to deny women an education.

Unable to return to Pakistan after her recovery, she moved to Britain where she underwent surgery and eventually set up the Malala Fund and supporting local education advocacy groups with a focus on Pakistan, Nigeria, Jordan, Syria and Kenya, Reuters reports.

Mr Satyarthi dedicated his Nobel Peace Prize to children in all forms of slavery including bonded labour and trafficking, saying it was an honour.

The prize, worth about $US1.1 million, will be presented in Oslo on 10 December, the anniversary of the death of Swedish industrialist Alfred Nobel, who founded the award in his 1895 will, Reuters reports.

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