Oslo, Dec 10:
India’s child rights crusader Kailash Satyarthi and Pakistani girls’ education activist Malala Yousafzai received the Nobel Peace Prize here Wednesday.
“A conscience exists in the world that extends beyond all boundaries. It says that children have the right to childhood, that children should go to school and not be forced to work. They should not start their lives as slaves of others. This world’s conscience can find no better expression than through Kailash Satyarthi and Malala Yousafzai,” Thorbjorn Jagland, head of the Nobel Committee, said while addressing the award ceremony in Oslo City Hall 1.
“Satyarthi believes child labour can be eradicated in his own lifetime. Every one here shares his hope.”
“Nothing should be further from Islam than shooting at a young girl whose only demand was to go to school. Malala’s vision was clear from the start, girls have a self-evident right to education,” he added.
Satyarthi and Malala each were presented with a diploma and a medal.
Satyarthi said his life’s aim was to make sure that every child was a free child.
“My only aim in life is to make sure that every child is a free child. I refuse to accept that all the temples, mosques, churches and prayer houses have no place for the dreams of our children,” he said in his acceptance speech.
Satyarthi has worked for child rights for over 30 years through the Bachpan Bachao Andolan, an NGO which is credited with freeing over 80,000 children from bonded labour across India.
“I have seen gods in the smiles of kids I have rescued, I represent the sounds of silence, the voices of innocence,” he said.
“In the pursuit of global progress, not a single person should be left out in any corner of the world. Let us work together for the good of the whole world. I represent millions of children who are left behind.”
The champion of child rights added that he represented “the sound of silence. The cry of innocence. And, the face of invisibility” at the prestigious prize ceremony.
“I have come here to share the voices and dreams of our children, our children, because they are all our children.”
“You and I live in the age of rapid globalisation. We are connected through high-speed Internet. We exchange goods and services in a single global market. Each day, thousands of flights connect us to every corner of the globe.
“But there is one serious disconnect. It is the lack of compassion. Let us inculcate and transform the individuals’ compassion into a global movement. Let us globalise compassion. Not passive compassion, but transformative compassion that leads to justice, equality, and freedom,” Satyarthi said.
Malala said she was glad she received the Nobel Peace Prize together with Satyarthi because it showed the world that an Indian and a Pakistani could work together for children’s rights.
“I am also honoured to receive this award together with Kailash Satyarthi, who has been a champion of children’s rights for a long time… I am also glad that we can stand together and show the world that an Indian and a Pakistani can be united in peace and together work for children’s rights,” said Malala in her acceptance speech.
She dedicated her award to the “voiceless” children of the world “who want change”. “This award is not just for me, but for those forgotten children who want education.”
Malala said modernisation and development have not meant the same for the entire world. “Today, in half of the world, we see rapid progress, modernisation and development. However, there are countries where millions still suffer from the very old problems of hunger, poverty, injustice and conflicts.
She called for the world leaders to unite and make education their top priority.
The Nobel Prizes are presented every year Dec 10, the death anniversary of Swedish industrialist and philanthropist Alfred Nobel.