President Barack Obama has congratulated Indian and Pakistani activists Kailash Satyarthi and Malala Yousafzai saying their Nobel Peace Prize “is a victory for all who strive to uphold the dignity of every human being.”
In a message on behalf of himself, wife Michelle and all Americans, Obama, who himself won the prize in 2009, said: “Kailash Satyarthi has dedicated his life to ending child labor and wiping the stain of slavery from our world.”
“The true measure of Kailash’s efforts is not a single prize he has been awarded, but the tens of thousands of people who today live with freedom and dignity thanks to his efforts.”
“Through his advocacy, Kailash reminds us of our shared responsibility to end the exploitation of others, especially the most vulnerable among us,” Obama added.
“At just 17 years old, Malala Yousafzai has inspired people around the world,” said Obama who along with his wife and their elder daughter Malia met Yousafzai at the White House in 2013, during her visit to promote her memoir “I am Malala”.
“We were awe-struck by her courage and filled with hope knowing this is only the beginning of her extraordinary efforts to make the world a better place,” Obama said recalling that meeting.
“In recognizing Malala and Kailash, the Nobel Committee reminds us of the urgency of their work to protect the rights and freedoms of all our young people and to ensure they have the chance to fulfill their God-given potential, regardless of their background, or gender, or station in life,” Obama said.
“Malala and Kailash have faced down threats and intimidation, risking their own lives to save others and build a better world for future generations,” Obama noted.
“They come from different countries, religious backgrounds, and generations-a Muslim and a Hindu, a Pakistani and an Indian – but they share an unyielding commitment to justice and an unshakeable belief in the basic dignity of every girl and boy,” he said.
“Even as we celebrate their achievements, we must recommit ourselves to the world that they seek – one in which our daughters have the right and opportunity to get an education; and in which all children are treated equally,” Obama said.
“Today, we honour Malala and Kailash’s achievements, and reaffirm that the United States will always stand with those who defend our universal human rights,” he said.
Meanwhile, at the State Department spokesperson Marie Harf also extended “our warmest congratulations” to the Nobel winners.”
“We certainly join Prime Ministers Nawaz Sharif and Narendra Modi and the people of Pakistan and India in celebrating the achievements of these two global leaders,” she said.
“So obviously, anything that leads to greater understanding, greater conversation, greater dialogue is a good thing,” Harf said when asked about the two winners’ invitation to Modi and Sharif to join them in the award ceremony.