Doctor, ex-slave win peace prize

08 October, 2018, 04:28 | Author: Sheila Harris
  • A woman is rescued by SOS MediterraneeĀ in August during a search and rescue operation in the Mediterranean Sea. Reuters

The 2018 Nobel Peace Prize was awarded today to Denis Mukwege and Nadia Murad for their "efforts to end sexual violence as weapons of war", said the Norwegian Nobel Committee.

In the soon to be released documentary "On Her Shoulders", Nobel Peace Prize victor Nadia Murad says she didn't want to become known as a "victim of Daesh terrorism".

A top contender would likely be Congolese gynaecologist Denis Mukwege, better known as "Doctor Miracle", who has spent two decades helping women recover from the violence and trauma of rape in war-torn eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. The young woman, one of the 3,000 members of her community who were abused, managed to escape and dedicated herself to denouncing the crimes of the IS against women and their people.

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".

In his French autobiography, "Plaidoyer pour la vie" ("Plea for Life"), Mukwege recounts the "depths of horror" he encountered in his native South Kivu province that led him to set up the Panzi hospital in Bukavu.

A United Nations spokeswoman said that the awarding of the prize to Mr Mukwege and Ms Murad for their work in combating the use of sexual violence as a weapon of war is a "fantastic announcement".

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Berit Reiss-Andersen, Chair of the Norwegian Nobel Committee, was asked Friday whether the panel had been inspired by the #MeToo movement. Other congratulatory platitudes included a statement from Peace Direct that said, "Women make strong, effective peacebuilders".

- In 2014, more than 3,000 Yazidis were killed and almost 7,000 Yazidi women and girls were abducted and sexually abused by Islamic State fighters in northern Iraq, in a campaign described by the United Nations as genocide.

"The first thing they did was they forced us to convert to Islam", Murad told AFP in 2016. Majority of these victims suffered sexual assaults at the hands of militants during the conflict. On receiving the award, Murad has reminded the world of the thousands still unaccounted for and the 1,300 Yazidi women and children which remain in captivity.

She was one of the Yazidi (a minority community) women abducted by terrorists from Sinjar, Iraq, in 2014.

For chemistry, the prize was awarded to three scientists for their discoveries in enzyme research.

In fact, he has been in the running for a Nobel Peace Prize for ten years, according to sources close to the secretive shortlisting process. The academy plans to announce both the 2018 and the 2019 winners next year - although the head of the Nobel Foundation has said the body must fix its tarnished reputation first. Jean-Claude Arnault was sentenced in Stockholm this week to two years in prison for rape.

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