OSLO (WebDesk/AFP) – Congolese doctor Denis Mukwege and Yazidi campaigner Nadia Murad won the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize on Friday for their work in fighting sexual violence in conflicts around the world.
The pair won the award “for their efforts to end the use of sexual violence as a weapon of war and armed conflict,”
One a doctor, the other a victim of rape, both have come to represent the struggle against a global scourge which goes well beyond any single conflict, as the #MeToo movement has shown.
The prize was announced as #MeToo marks its first anniversary after a year in which allegations of sexual abuse, rape and harassment have toppled dozens of powerful men
By recognising the pair’s work, the Nobel committee has placed a spotlight on the use of sexual violence in war as a global problem.
Mukwege – Doctor Miracle of war-torn Congo
Known as “Doctor Miracle”, he is an outspoken critic of the abuse of women during war. Photo: File
Mukwege, 63, was recognised for two decades of work to help women recover from the violence and trauma of sexual abuse and rape in the war-torn eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.
Women, children and even babies just a few months old, Mukwege has treated tens of thousands of victims of rape at Panzi hospital which he founded in 1999 in South Kivu.
Known as “Doctor Miracle”, he is an outspoken critic of the abuse of women during war who has described rape as “a weapon of mass destruction”.
Nadia Murad: from IS slave to Nobel laureate
Shocked by the violence, Murad set about trying to escape, and managed to flee with the help of a Muslim family from Mosul. Photo: File
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.
She was one of thousands of Yazidi women and girls who were abducted, raped and brutalised by IS militants during their assault that year on the Kurdish-speaking minority, which the United Nations has described as genocide.
Her nightmare began when the jihadists stormed her village in northern Iraq in August 2014. From there she was taken to Mosul where she was repeatedly gang-raped, tortured and beaten.
“The first thing they did was force us to convert to Islam”, she told AFP two years ago. “After conversion, they did whatever they wanted.”
Shocked by the violence, Murad set about trying to escape, and managed to flee with the help of a Muslim family from Mosul.
Armed with false identity papers, she managed to cross the few dozen kilometres (miles) to Iraqi Kurdistan, joining crowds of other displaced Yazidis in camps.
There, she learnt that six of her brothers and her mother had been killed With the help of an organisation that assists Yazidis, she joined her sister in Germany, where she lives today.
After her escape, she quickly became a figurehead for efforts to protect the Yazidi community and was later named a UN ambassador for victims of human trafficking.