Nobel Peace Prize for two campaigners against rape as a weapon of war

Congolese gynaecologist Denis Mukwege (l) and Nadia Murad (r), survivor of IS captivity and Yazidi human rights activist, were awarded the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize for their work in fighting sexual violence in conflict around the world.

The Congolese physician Denis Mukwege and Nadia Murad, a Yazidi, are awarded the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize today, 5 October, “for their efforts to end the use of sexual violence as a weapon of war and armed conflict”, the Norwegian Nobel Committee said.

“Denis Mukwege is the helper who has devoted his life to defending these victims. Nadia Murad I’d 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,” is how the committee explained its decision.

The prize will be handed to both winners during a ceremony in Norway’s capital Oslo, on 10 December.

Among the 331 nominees for the peace award this year were alsoEgypt’s Copts, for choosing peaceful coexistence over retaliation in the face of persecution.

‘We are witnesses’

Dr Denis Mukwege, 63, a gynaecological surgeon and evangelical Christian, is known as ‘the man who repairs women’.

In 1999 he founded Panzi hospital in Bukavu, eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, with the idea of working on maternal health. However, he found himself confronted with large numbers of women who survived sexual violence committed by armed groups active in the region.

Among a number of international awards, in 2013 the physicianreceived the Human Rights First Award for his work.

Civil society organisations reported in May that the violence in the northern part of the region kills two people every day. They also detailed 7,376 recorded cases of sexual violence against women and children.

“We are the witnesses. We have two choices”, Dr Mukwege told Physicians for Human Rights last year. “We can decide to stay quiet and then we become complicit with those who commit these acts. Or the second choice is to speak up for these women and to say what we see to bear witness, to say what we have to say, and demand that it stop.”

The Nobel laureate became a victim of violence himself because of his speaking out about what Congo’s women face and how to stop it. He now lives under the permanent protection of UN peacekeepers at his hospital, according to the BBC.

In April this year a film highlighting the impact of sexual violence in eastern DRC received the 2017 Human Rights Award from the World Association for Christian Communication and SIGNIS, a worldwide association of Catholic communicators.

Source: Christian News Wire

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