Kathmandu, 10 October 2014-Pakistani child education activist Malala Yousafzai and Indian anti-child labour activist Kailash Satyarthi have won the Nobel Peace Prize today.
UNICEF South Asia is incredibly proud to congratulate the two South Asian activists who were awarded this honor for their “struggle against the suppression of children and young people.” Their work and struggles have transcended national boundaries and captured the hearts of millions of people not only in the region, but around the world.
At 17, Malala is the youngest ever recipient of the prize. In October 2012, she was shot in the head by Taliban gunmen for campaigning for girls’ education. In a region where a staggering 17.42 million girls aged between 5-13 are out of school – some of the highest rates in the world – Malala’s tireless efforts to campaign for education has truly been a “heroic struggle” for girls’ rights to education, as cited by the Nobel Committee.
Similarly, Mr. Satyarthi was praised by the Committee for “showing great personal courage” in leading peaceful demonstrations focusing on the exploitation of children for financial gain and child labor. He has shown an unrelenting commitment to ending child labor, which devastates the lives of millions of children in South Asia and more than 168 million children around the world.
“Education can unlock a better future and end child labour. Educated girls and women are less likely to have been pushed into child marriage or push their own children into it. They are less likely to die in childbirth, and more likely to raise healthy children. Education is especially transformative for children who are poor, female who live in remote areas” said Karin Hulshof, Regional Director for UNICEF in South Asia.
Over 12% of children in South Asia aged 5-14 are engaged in child labour. And in some parts of the region the levels are much higher. One out of two girls marry before 18, and many as young as 15.
This announcement comes as we celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC). The CRC has inspired domestic legislation to respect, protect and fulfil child rights in all eight countries of South Asia, as well as the creation of policy and national development plans for their implementation.
“Improving children’s lives and transforming the future is the message that transcends from Malala and Kailash” concluded Karin Hulshof.
UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere. For more information about UNICEF and its work visit: www.unicef.org
For further information, please contact:
Jean-Jacques Simon, Regional Chief of Communication, UNICEF South Asia.
Tel: +977-9801030076; firstname.lastname@example.org ; @unicefrosa
Sarah Nam, Communication Section, UNICEF South Asia.
Tel: +977-9803892356; email@example.com