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Malala Yousafzai, India's Satyarthi Share Nobel Peace Prize


This combo of two file photos shows Kailash Satyarthi (L), Indian anti-child labour activist and head of the South Asian Coalition Against Child Servitude, and Pakistani education activist Malala Yousafzai, undated.

Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani teenager who was shot in the head by the Taliban for advocating the right of girls to an education, and Kailash Satyarthi, an Indian children's rights activist, have won the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize.

The Norwegian Nobel Committee cited the two "for their struggle against the suppression of children and young people and for the right of all children to education."

Malala, now 17, is the youngest person to win the Nobel Peace Prize.

She was shot in 2012 on a school bus in her native of town of Mingora, in the Swat valley, but recovered and has earned international plaudits for her advocacy.

She now lives in Britain.

Satyarthi, 60, has maintained the tradition of Mahatma Gandhi and headed peaceful protests "focusing on the grave exploitation of children for financial gain," the Nobel committee said.

Satyarthi said he was "delighted" to have won the prize, calling it "recognition of our fight for child rights".

He thanked the Nobel committee for "recognizing the plight of millions of children who are suffering in this modern age", according to the Press Trust of India news agency.

"An important sign, the #NobelPeacePrize to #MalalaYousafzai and #KailashSatyarthi for their work on children's rights," Federica Mogherini, the European Union's incoming High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, said on Twitter.

Malala won the EU's prestigious Sakharov human rights prize last year.

Malala, who was treated at a hospital in Birmingham after she was shot, was at school in the city in central England when she was told of the award.

"Malala is at school as normal today," a spokeswoman said.

In Malala's home region of Swat, many people welcomed the news.

"This is a great honor for us, for our Pashtuns, for the Swat and Malalakand region that someone, a girl from this region, wins an international award," local resident Umbaidullah told RFE/RL's Radio Mashaal. "We are proud."

"Malala should strive for opening colleges and universities for girls, women in this region," said Salahuddin Yousafzai, a Swat resident.

Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif called Malala the "pride of Pakistan."

"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.

In the southwestern city of Quetta, in Balochistan Province, a young girl named Salima Ashna cheered the news but told Radio Mashaal girls across Pakistan still face challenges gettting an eduaction.

"I can't express how happy I am that Malala won this award. All the girls are happy. But unfortunately, in our region, they are not allowing girls to get education," she said. "I must tell you how eager I am to get an education, but my family does not allow me to get an education. It is my lifelong wish that they allow me - even if by then I am 80 years old, I would still get an education."

The United Nations human rights chief, Zeid Ra'ad Al-Hussein, said awarding the prize to "two frontline human rights defenders who have championed the rights of the child sends an important message of support and recognition to individuals around the world tirelessly working to defend the rights of children."

The shared prize, worth some $1.1 million, was announced on October 10 and will be presented in Oslo on December 10.

The announcement followed days of deadly hostilities between longtime foes India and Pakistan in the disputed Kashmir region.

The founder of the Nobel Prizes, Swedish industrialist Alfred Nobel, said the Peace should go to "the person who shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses."

With reporting by Reuters, AP, and RFE/RL's Radio Mashaal

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