Nobel Peace Prize awarded to Congolese doctor and Iraqi woman

Cheryl Sanders
October 6, 2018

This is what the announcement of the prize had to say about Murad.

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. 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.

Mukwege, popularly known as the "rape surgeon", becomes the 23rd African and first Congolese to ever win the Nobel Peace Prize which was last awarded to Africans in 2011; Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and Leymah Gbowee of Liberia.

Ms Murad is an Iraqi Yazidi who was tortured and raped by Islamic State militants and later became the face of a campaign to free the Yazidi people.

"For almost 20 years I have witnessed war crimes committed against women, young girls, tots and babies", Mukwege said, adding that he had operated on some 50,000 women victims of rape and sexual abuse. She is just one of the estimated 3,000 Yazidi women who were subjected to sexual brutalities by the terror outfit. "After conversion, they did whatever they wanted".

Following is the statement by Nobel Peace Prize laureate Denis Mukwege on receiving the award. All of this, she said, was considered legal under ISIS rule - which dictates that Yazidis, because they do not practice Islam, can be taken as slaves on religious grounds.

United Nations rights chief Michelle Bachelet said it was "hard to imagine two more worthy winners", describing the prize as "richly-deserved recognition of two extraordinarily fearless, persistent and effective campaigners". We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analyses from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

In 2016, Nadia Murad escaped the clutches of the Islamic State in Iraq, whose troops had kidnapped her and kept her in confinement.

Murad, a Yazidi-Kurdish human rights activist, was captured by ISIS militants in 2014 and has spoken out about the abuse she suffered at their hands.

Congo's government congratulated Mukwege, while acknowledging that relations with him have been strained because of his criticism of the government.

Mukwege returned to South Kivu in January 2013 to continue his work at the hospital.

This year, the committee wanted to send "a message of awareness that women who constitute half the population in most communities actually are used as a weapon of war", said Berit Reiss-Andersen, chair of the Norwegian Nobel Committee, during a news conference. Mr Mukwege is a Congolese gynaecologist who has treated victims. "Nadia Murad is the witness who tells of the abuses perpetrated against herself and others".

The choice of two campaigners against sexual violence in war will highlight an issue that has been marginalised for decades.

According to Peres, Murad drew a parallel between the Yazidi experience and the Jewish trauma of the Holocaust, and asked Israel to aid Yazidi victims. "But they have in common that they see the suffering of women, the abuse of women and that it is important that women leave the concept of shame behind and speak up".

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