The 2018 Nobel Peace Prize has been awarded to Denis Mukwege and Nadia Murad for their efforts to end the use of sexual violence as a weapon of war and armed conflict.
Both laureates have made a crucial contribution to focusing attention on, and combating, such war crimes.
Who is Denis Mukwege?
He is the helper who has devoted his life to defending these victims. has spent large parts of his adult life helping the victims of sexual violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Dr. Mukwege and his staff have treated thousands of patients who have fallen victim to such assaults since the Panzi Hospital was established in Bukavu in 1999.
Mukwege said he was in the middle of carrying out surgery in his hospital when he learned that he had won the award — and that he dedicated it to all survivors of sexual violence around the world.
Who is Nadia Murad?
She is herself a victim of war crimes. She refused to accept the social codes that require women to remain silent and ashamed of the abuses to which they have been subjected. She has shown uncommon courage in recounting her own sufferings and speaking up on behalf of other victims. She is a member of the Yazidi minority in northern Iraq, where she lived with her family in the remote village of Kocho.
Nadia Murad is just one of an estimated 3 000 Yazidi girls and women who were victims of rape and other abuses by the IS army. After a three-month nightmare Nadia Murad managed to flee. After escaping, she became an activist for the Yazidi people, campaigning to help put an end to human trafficking and calling on the world to take a tougher line on rape as a weapon of war. Ms Murad, the first Iraqi to win the award, was named the UN’s first goodwill ambassador for survivors of human trafficking later that year.
This year’s Nobel Peace Prize is firmly embedded in the criteria spelled out in Alfred Nobel’s will. Denis Mukwege and Nadia Murad have both put their personal security at risk by courageously combating war crimes and seeking justice for the victims. They have thereby promoted the fraternity of nations through the application of principles of international law.