Obama commends peace prize winners

President Obama on Friday congratulated Indian human rights activist Kailash Satyarthi and Pakistani teen Malala Yousafzai on joining him among the ranks of Nobel Peace Prize winners.

“Today’s announcement is a victory for all who strive to uphold the dignity of every human being,” Obama said in a statement. “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.”

Yousafzai, the youngest-ever peace-prize winner, was shot in the head by Taliban gunmen near her Pakistani home in 2012 over her advocacy efforts on behalf of female students. 

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"Michelle and I were proud to welcome this remarkable young woman to the Oval Office last year. 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.

During that meeting, Yousafzai also memorably appealed to Obama to end drone strikes in Pakistan.

"I thanked President Obama for the United States' work in supporting education in Pakistan and Afghanistan and for Syrian refugees," Yousafzai said in a statement. "I also expressed my concerns that drone attacks are fueling terrorism. Innocent victims are killed in these acts, and they lead to resentment among the Pakistani people. If we refocus efforts on education it will make a big impact."

Satyarthi, for his part, has worked to end child labor and slavery practices.

"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," Obama said. 

"Through his advocacy, Kailash reminds us of our shared responsibility to end the exploitation of others, especially the most vulnerable among us.”