Malala Yousafzai, ex-Eastern bloc activists up for Nobel Peace Prize

Malala Yousufzai

Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani schoolgirl-turned-icon who was shot for resisting Taliban, and ex-Eastern bloc activists are among those known to be nominated for this year's Nobel Peace Prize, as the deadline expired today.

This year's award will be announced in early October, but speculation was already underway as the deadline for nominations ran out on February 1.

Fifteen-year-old Malala Yousafzai was shot by a Taliban gunman at point blank range as she travelled on a bus to school on October 9, targeted for promoting girls' education.

She has since become an internationally recognised symbol of opposition to the Taliban's drive to deny women education, and against religious extremism in a country where women's rights are often flouted.

"A prize to Malala would not only be timely and fitting with a line of awards to champions of human rights and democracy, but also... would set both children and education on the peace and conflict agenda," said the head of the Peace Research Institute of Oslo, Kristian Berg Harpviken.

Others known to have been nominated are human rights activists whose names have been mentioned in previous years, including Belarussian human rights activist Ales Belyatski currently behind bars and Russia's Lyudmila Alexeyeva.

Trying to predict who will win the Nobel Peace Prize is a difficult task, complicated by the fact that the list of nominees each year is kept secret for 50 years.

But thousands of people are eligible to nominate candidates including former laureates, members of parliament and government around the world, some university professors, and members of certain international organisations and they are allowed to reveal the names they have put forward.

As a result, it is known that French, Canadian and Norwegian MPs have all separately nominated Malala.

Beliatsky's and Alexeyeva's names have meanwhile been put forward by two Norwegian lawmakers.

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