Yazidi rights activist and survivor of sexual slavery by Islamic State militants in Iraq, Nadia Murad, and gynaecologist helping victims of sexual violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Denis Mukwege, have won this year’s Nobel Prize for Peace, proving wrong, bookers prediction that United States (US) President Donald Trump and Korean leaders, were in reckoning for the Prize.
According to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), the Norwegian Nobel Committee said it had awarded them the prize for their efforts to end the use of sexual violence as a weapon of war.“Both laureates have made a crucial contribution to focusing attention on, and combating, such war crimes,” the committee said in its citation. Mukwege heads the Panzi Hospital in the eastern Congolese city of Bukavu, which was opened in 1999 and receives thousands of women each year, many of them requiring surgery from sexual violence. He had devoted his life to defending these victims, the citation said.
Murad, who was enslaved and raped by Islamic State fighters in Mosul, Iraq in 2014, is an advocate for the Yazidi minority in Iraq and for refugee and women’s rights in general and was a witness who tells of the abuses perpetrated against herself and others, the citation said.
“Each of them, in their own way, has helped to give greater visibility to wartime sexual violence, so that the perpetrators can be held accountable for their actions,” it said. Murad was 21-years-old in 2014 when the militants attacked the village where she had grown up in northern Iraq, killing those who refused to convert to Islam, including six of her brothers and her mother. She, along with many of the other young women in her village, was taken into captivity by the militants and sold repeatedly for sex as part of their slave trade. She eventually escaped captivity with the help of a Sunni Muslim family in Mosul, the group’s former de facto capital in Iraq until they were ousted by Us-led coalition forces, and became an advocate for the rights of her community around the world.
Last year, Murad published a memoir of her ordeal, titled, ‘The Last Girl,’ recounting in harrowing detail, her months in captivity, her escape and her journey to activism, saying: “At some point, there was rape and nothing else. This becomes your normal day.” The attack on Yazidi communities in northern Iraq was part of what the United Nations (UN) has called a genocidal campaign launched by the Sunni militants against the religious minority.
The award of the prize follows a year in which the abuse and mistreatment of women in all walks of life across the globe has been a focus of attention. Asked whether the #metoo movement, a prominent women’s rights activist forum, was an inspiration for this year’s prize, Nobel Committee Chairwoman, Berit Reiss-Andersen, said: “#Metoo and war crimes are not quite the same. 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.”
The prize would be presented to the winners in Oslo on December 10, this year, which marks the anniversary of the death of Swedish industrialist, Alfred Nobel, who founded the awards in his 1895 Will.
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