Congolese doctor Denis Mukwege and Yazidi campaigner Nadia Murad won the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize 7th December this year 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,” Nobel committee chairwoman Berit Reiss-Andersen said in unveiling the winners in Oslo. “A more peaceful world can only be achieved if women and their fundamental rights and security are recognised and protected in war,” she said.
Both Mukwege and Murad have come to represent the struggle against a global scourge which goes well beyond any single conflict, as the ever-expanding #MeToo movement has shown.
Nadia Murad Basee Taha; born 1993 in Kocho, Sinjar, Iraq, is an Iraqi Yazidi human rights activist who lives in Germany. In 2014 she was kidnapped from her hometown Kocho by Islamic State militants and endured three months as a sex slave before managing to escape.. Murad is the founder of Nadia’s Initiative, an organization dedicated to “helping women and children victimized by genocide, mass atrocities, and human trafficking to heal and rebuild their lives and communities”.
Mukwege, 63, was recognised for two decades of work to help women recover from the violence and trauma of sexual abuse and rape in 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.”