Nobel Peace Prize honors efforts to combat sexual violence in war

Elias Hubbard
October 6, 2018

The Norwegian Nobel Committee jointly awarded the annual Nobel Peace Prize Friday to two people who've fought against rape being used as a "weapon of war".

He remains a fierce advocate for woman who have been victims of sexual abuse during war.

His basic principle is that "justice is everyone's business", the committee said, calling him the "foremost, most unifying symbol, both nationally and internationally, of the struggle to end sexual violence in war and armed conflicts".

Dr. Mkwege's hospital was the subject of threats, and in 2012 his home was invaded by armed men who held his daughters at gunpoint, shot at him and killed his bodyguard.

Mukwege will receive a citation and an 18-carat gold medal that bears the face of the founder Alfred Nobel at an award ceremony in December.

"I was a farmer, a villager, and I was born to be such", Murad said in a speech when she became a UN Goodwill Ambassador in 2016. In 2008, with war still tearing the Congo apart, Mukwege spoke to CBS' 60 Minutes about his role as director of the Panzi Hospital in the country's east.

She was awarded the Vaclav Havel Human Rights Prize by the Council of Europe in 2016 and called for an worldwide court to judge crimes committed by IS in her acceptance speech in Strasbourg.

Since escaping, Murad has demanded that global leaders acknowledge and fight against the abuse of women like her, speaking to the United Nations Security Council, the US House of Representatives, the British House of Commons, and the US State Department - whichrecognizedthe genocide of the Yazidi peoplefollowing her appeal.

Alongside Mukwege, the committee honoured Murad, a 25-year-old Iraqi woman from the Yazidi community who in 2014 was kidnapped by Islamic State militants and endured three months as a sex slave before managing to escape.

"Nadia Murad is one story of thousands and thousands of stories", he told CBC Toronto. "At some point, there was rape and nothing else", she writes.

After the award was announced, Murad's brother told Norwegian public broadcaster NRK, "She's crying right now. She's crying, she can't talk".

"Both laureates have made a crucial contribution to focusing attention on, and combating, such war crimes".

"It's an important step towards this long awaited reparation that we all owe to these women who have suffered so much", he said.

"I am proud to be Congolese", said the country's top opposition leader, Felix Tshisekedi, in a Twitter post.

In Iraq, state TV stopped regular programming to report on Murad's win.

Murad, the first Iraqi to become a Nobel peace laureate, was also congratulated by the country´s outgoing Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi and his intended successor Adel Abdel Mahdi.

"As a survivor, I am grateful for this opportunity to draw worldwide attention to the plight of the Yazidi people who have suffered unimaginable crimes since the genocide by Daesh (IS), which began in 2014", she added.

Krebs and other observers, in any case, believe that the prizes have generally had little impact in furthering the goals of their honorees in recent years-and occasionally, they achieve the opposite effect.

Last year's victor was the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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