Denis Mukwege and Nadia Murad awarded 2018 Nobel Peace Prize
by Norwegian Nobel Committee
12:55pm 8th Oct, 2018
Oslo, 5 October 2018
The Norwegian Nobel Committee has decided to award the Nobel Peace Prize for 2018 to Denis Mukwege and Nadia Murad for their efforts to end the use of sexual violence as a weapon of war and armed conflict. Both laureates have made a crucial contribution to focusing attention on, and combating, such war crimes.
Denis Mukwege is the helper who has devoted his life to defending these victims. Nadia Murad is the witness who tells of the abuses perpetrated against herself and others. Each of them in their own way has helped to give greater visibility to war-time sexual violence, so that the perpetrators can be held accountable for their actions.
The physician Denis Mukwege has spent large parts of his adult life helping the victims of sexual violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Since the Panzi Hospital was established in Bukavu in 1999, Dr. Mukwege and his staff have treated thousands of patients who have fallen victim to such assaults. Most of the abuses have been committed in the context of a long-lasting civil war that has cost the lives of more than six million Congolese.
Denis Mukwege is the foremost, most unifying symbol, both nationally and internationally, of the struggle to end sexual violence in war and armed conflicts. His basic principle is that “justice is everyone’s business”.
Men and women, officers and soldiers, and local, national and international authorities alike all have a shared responsibility for reporting, and combating, this type of war crime. The importance of Dr. Mukwege’s enduring, dedicated and selfless efforts in this field cannot be overstated.
He 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.
Nadia Murad is herself a victim of war crimes. She refused to accept the social codes that require women to remain silent and ashamed of the abuses to which they have been subjected. She has shown uncommon courage in recounting her own sufferings and speaking up on behalf of other victims.
Nadia Murad is a member of the Yazidi minority in northern Iraq, where she lived with her family in the remote village of Kocho. In August 2014 the Islamic State (IS) launched a brutal, systematic attack on the villages of the Sinjar district, aimed at exterminating the Yazidi population.
In Nadia Murad’s village, several hundred people were massacred. The younger women, including underage children, were abducted and held as sex slaves. While a captive of the IS, Nadia Murad was repeatedly subjected to rape and other abuses. Her assaulters threatened to execute her if she did not convert to their hateful, inhuman version of Islam.
Nadia Murad is just 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. Thus they served as a weapon in the fight against Yazidis and other religious minorities.
After a three-month nightmare Nadia Murad managed to flee. Following her escape, she chose to speak openly about what she had suffered. In 2016, at the age of just 23, she was named the UN’s first Goodwill Ambassador for the Dignity of Survivors of Human Trafficking.
This year marks a decade since the UN Security Council adopted Resolution 1820 (2008), which determined that the use of sexual violence as a weapon of war and armed conflict constitutes both a war crime and a threat to international peace and security.
This is also set out in the Rome Statute of 1998, which governs the work of the International Criminal Court. The Statute establishes that sexual violence in war and armed conflict is a grave violation of international law. A more peaceful world can only be achieved if women and their fundamental rights and security are recognised and protected in war.
This year’s Nobel Peace Prize is firmly embedded in the criteria spelled out in Alfred Nobel’s will. Denis Mukwege and Nadia Murad have both put their personal security at risk by courageously combating war crimes and seeking justice for the victims. They have thereby promoted the fraternity of nations through the application of principles of international law.
http://www.mukwegefoundation.org/2018/10/05/statement-by-dr-denis-mukwege-on-the-nobel-peace-prize-2018/ http://tmsnrt.rs/2Rw9Utc http://www.mukwegefoundation.org/ http://donordirectaction.org/activists/panzi/
5 Oct. 2018 (UN News)
Nadia Murad, a Yazidi rights activist and the first Goodwill Ambassador for the Dignity of Survivors of Human Trafficking of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), and Denis Mukwege, a gynecologist who helps victims of sexual violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), were awarded the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize on Friday.
UN Secretary-General António Guterres praised Dr. Mukwege''s "fearless" championing of women raped and abused in conflict, repairing "shattered bodies" as a skilled surgeon but also restoring "dignity and hope".
Ms. Murad, he said, had given voice to "unspeakable abuse" in northern Iraq, when Daesh terrorists brutally targetted the Yazidi ethnic minority in 2014. "She has pursued support for victims of human trafficking and sexual slavery, and justice for perpetrators."
"By honouring these defenders of human dignity, this prize also recognizes countless victims around the world who have too often been stigmatized, hidden and forgotten. This is their award, too... Let us honour these new Nobel laureates by standing up for victims of sexual violence everywhere", he said.
The Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict, Pramila Patten,said "today’s recognition of two champions in the fight to end wartime rape is an inspiration for all of us working in this field,” adding that it shone "a spotlight on a crime that has long been hidden in the shadows of history and sends a strong message that all the women and girls who have suffered sexual violence, deserve justice and redress."
The Executive Director of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) Yury Fedotov hailed Ms. Murad''s courage and resilience saying “we must always listen to the people who have been most affected and harmed by the crimes we seek to stop”. The testimonies of survivors like Ms. Murad “must inform and strengthen all of our efforts to achieve justice”.
Her advocacy has helped to establish what Mr. Guterres described as "a vitally important" UN investigation, "of the harrowing crimes that she and so many others endured."
Dr. Mukwege, has treated thousands of rape victims at his hospital in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The Panzi hospital offers free medical care to victims of terrible sexual abuse and violence.
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, said it was hard to imagine two more worthy winners. "This is richly deserved recognition of these two extraordinarily brave, persistent and effective campaigners against the scourge of sexual violence, and the use of rape as a weapon of war".
"Nadia and Denis, I’m sure I speak for all human rights defenders, when I say we salute you, we admire you beyond words. You have fought for the pain women have suffered through sexual abuse to be recognized and confronted, and for their dignity to be restored. We need more people to stand up the way you have stood up for the rights of women, for justice, for the rights of minorities, for the rights of everyone."
The Executive Director of UN Women, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, said "there can be no peace while women and girls are raped with impunity as a tactic of war. The 2018 Peace Laureates are doing vital work to bring visibility and voice to this violation of women''s rights and to bring justice to women and girls brutally harmed by sexual violence in conflict.
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