Yazidi former ISIS sex slave, Congolese doctor win Nobel Peace Prize

The winners are Nadia Murad, a 25-year-old from Iraq and Denis Mukwege, 63, from the Democratic Republic of the Congo

  • They won for their ‘efforts to end the use of sexual violence as a weapon of war’
  • Murad campaigns for the ISIS murders of Yazidis to be recognised as genocide
  • She is the second youngest winner after Malala Yousafzai who won in 2014 at 17
  • Mukwege has treated thousands of survivors of sexual violence in armed conflict
  • He has called on the world to take a tougher line on rape as a weapon of war 
  • The prize, worth $1 million will be presented in Oslo, Norway on December 10 

This year’s Nobel Peace Prize has been awarded to a gynecologist treating victims of sexual violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo and a Yazidi human rights activist and survivor of sexual slavery by Islamic State.

The prize, worth nine million Swedish crowns ($1 million), will be presented to Nadia Murad, 25, and Denis Mukwege, 63, in Oslo on December 10.

On the reason for their choice, the Nobel committee chairwoman Berit Reiss-Andersen said in Oslo that the pair one the prestigious award for their ‘efforts to end the use of sexual violence as a weapon of war.’

The committee said: ‘They have both put their own personal security at risk by courageously combatting war crimes and securing justice for victims.’

On Ms Murad, the committee said: ‘She has shown uncommon courage in recounting her own sufferings and speaking up on behalf of other victims.

‘Nadia Murad is one of an estimated 3,000 Yazidi girls and women who were victims of rape and other abuses by the IS army.

‘The abuses were systematic and part of a military strategy. They served as a weapon in the fight against Yazidis and other religious minorities.’

ISIS jihadists organised slave markets for selling off the women and girls, and Yazidi women were forced to renounce their religion.

For the jihadists, with their ultra-strict interpretation of Islam, the Yazidis are seen as heretics.

The Kurdish-speaking community follows an ancient religion, revering a single God and the ‘leader of the angels’, represented by a peacock. They numbered around 550,000 in Iraq before 2014, but some 100,000 have since left the country.

After herself being granted asylum in Germany in 2015, Murad continued the fight for the 3,000 Yazidis who remain missing, presumed still in captivity.

She has said that IS fighters wanted ‘to take our honour, but they lost their honour’ and has dedicated herself to what she calls ‘our peoples’ fight’.

Murad has now become a global voice, campaigning for justice for her people and for the acts committed by the jihadists to be recognised internationally as genocide.

At just 25, is the second youngest Nobel peace prize winner. The youngest was Malala Yousafzai, who won in 2014 at 17-years-old after she was shot in the head at close range by the Taliban for campaigning for girls’ education in Pakistan, where she grew up.

The committee said Dr. Denis Mukwege, who has devoted his life to helping the thousands of victims of war-time sexual violence in his home nation, has been ‘the foremost, most unifying symbol both nationally and internationally of the struggle to end sexual violence in war and armed conflict’.

‘Denis Mukwege’s basic principle is that ‘justice is everyone’s business’.

Mukwege himself said on Friday he was in surgery when he heard the news he had been named a Nobel Peace Prize laureate.

‘I can see in the faces of many women how they are happy to be recognised,’ Mukwege told the Nobel Foundation in a recorded interview posted on the foundation’s Twitter account, referring to the patients at his Panzi hospital in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The Nobel Peace Prize twitter account said Dr. Mukwege has ‘repeatedly condemned impunity for mass rape and criticised the Congolese government and other countries for not doing enough to stop the use of sexual violence against women as a strategy and weapon of war.’

Only a few of the hundreds of nominees were publicly known before the announcement – the committee keeps the list secret for 50 years.

Mr Mukwege, however, is known to have been repeatedly nominated for his work with gang rape victims from the conflicts that have ravaged the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

In 2016 he called on the world to take a tougher line on rape as a weapon of war.



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