Congolese doctor Denis Mukwege and Nadia Murad, a former captive of the Islamic State and now global advocate against sexual violence, were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for their work against sexual violence.
The prize was awarded for “their efforts to end the use of sexual violence as a weapon of war and armed conflict,” the Oslo-based Norwegian Nobel Committee said in a statement yesterday.
“Both laureates have made a crucial contribution to focusing attention on, and combating, such war crimes,” it said.
Mukwege, 63, is the medical director of Panzi Hospital in Bukavu, the capital of South Kivu Province in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DR Congo), which has been blighted by more than two decades of conflict.
He founded Panzi in 1999, a year after a war erupted between the DR Congo and Rwanda that eventually spread to engulf half a dozen African nations.
The hospital offered obstetric care and treatment for severe gynecological problems. Among its patients are victims of sexual violence, a hallmark of the DR Congo’s conflict.
Murad, a member of the Yazidi minority in Iraq, was captured by the Islamic State group as it overran villages in Sinjar District.
The Nobel committee said that several hundred people were massacred in Murad’s village, while she was captured and repeatedly subjected to rape and other abuses.
She escaped after three months and has since become a global spokeswoman on sexual-violence issues.
In 2016, she was named the UN’s first Goodwill Ambassador for the Dignity of Survivors of Human Trafficking.
There were 331 candidates for the Nobel Peace Prize this year, including 216 individuals and 115 organizations. The Norwegian Nobel Institute does not disclose the names of nominees until 50 years have past.
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