Nobel Peace Prize awarded to activists for fighting sexual violence

The Norwegian Nobel Committee awarded the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize to Nadia Murad, a Yazidi rights activist from Iraq and survivor of sexual slavery at the hands of Islamic State (ISIS), and Denis Mukwege, a gynaecologist from the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The Norwegian Nobel Committee said the two were given the award “for their efforts to end the use of sexual violence as a weapon of war and armed conflict.”

Mukwege heads the Panzi Hospital in the eastern Congolese city of Bukavu, which has been treating thousands of women, many of them requiring surgery from sexual violence, since 1999. The Nobel citation said he had devoted his life to defending these victims.

Murad, an advocate for Yazidi women, was taken captive by ISIS in 2014. The militants killed those who refused to convert to Islam, including six of her brothers and her mother.  Murad eventually escaped and became an advocate for the rights of her community around the world.

She was a witness who tells of the abuses perpetrated against herself and others, the committee said.

The abuse and mistreatment of women all across the world have been central to this year’s Nobel Prize.

The official ceremony for presenting the awards will be held in Oslo on Dec. 10, the anniversary of the death of Swedish industrialist Alfred Nobel, who founded the awards in his 1895 will.