Published: Tue, October 09, 2018

Nadia Murad and Denis Mukwege awarded Nobel Peace Prize 2018

Nadia Murad and Denis Mukwege awarded Nobel Peace Prize 2018

Congolese doctor Denis Mukwege and Nadia Murad, former captive of Islamic State turned global advocate, were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for their work against sexual violence.

Earlier this week the Nobel prize for physics was awarded to Donna Strickland, only the third woman victor of the award and the first in 55 years. 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 has shown uncommon courage in recounting her own sufferings and speaking up on behalf of other victims", Reiss-Andersen said.

On the other side, Nadia Murad herself is a victim of sexual war crimes.

She was bought and sold several times and subjected to sexual and physical abuse during her captivity. She said, "We want to send a message that women who constitute half the population in those communities actually are used as weapons and that they need protection, and that the perpetrators have to be prosecuted and held responsible". "If they are watching this, my heartfelt congratulations", she said. Among its patients are victims of sexual violence, a hallmark of Congo's conflict.

Yazidi women and girls who have escaped ISIS or are rescued face an array of problems, Pari Ibrahim, founder and executive director of the Free Yezidi Foundation, tells NPR. The younger women, including underage children, were abducted and held as sex slaves.

Reiss-Andersen said this year's prize was meant to send the message that "women, who constitute half of the population, are used as a weapons of war, and they need protection, and the perpetrators have to be held responsible and prosecuted for their actions". "The hope of ISIS was to break the Yazidi community", she says.

Berit Reiss-Andersen said after announcing the prize that both laureates, Mukwege of Congo and Murad a Yazidi, a Kurdish religious minority, had put their personal security at stake as activists on the issue.

Some had argued that President Donald Trump should be awarded the Prize for his role in moving the normalization between North and South Korea.

Some recent awards have been controversial: former United States president Barack Obama won in 2009 after less than a year in office, and the European Union won in 2012.

The prize, worth nine million Swedish crowns (S$1.3 million), will be presented in Oslo on Dec 10.

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