Nadia Murad, a Yazidi human rights activist and survivor of sexual slavery by Islamic State in Iraq, and Denis Mukwege, a gynaecologist treating victims of sexual violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo, have been awarded the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize.
The Norwegian Nobel Committee said it had awarded them the prize for their efforts to end the use of sexual violence as a weapon of war.
“Both laureates have made a crucial contribution to focusing attention on, and combating, such war crimes,” it said in its citation.
Murad is an advocate for the Yazidi minority in Iraq and for refugee and women’s rights in general. She was enslaved and raped by Islamic State fighters in Mosul in 2014.
Mukwege was nominated for his work with rape victims in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Mukwege is the founder of Panzi Hospital in Bukavu, the capital of South Kivu, which offers physical and emotional treatment to some of the hundreds of women who are raped in the region each year.
The number of women and girls raped in eastern Congo is unknown, but experts and campaigners say the scale is enormous. The former United Nations’ special representative on sexual violence in conflict Margot Wallstrom has called Congo the “rape capital of the world”.
In October 2012 armed men made an attempt on Mukwege’s life, forcing him to flee the country. A member of his staff was killed in the shooting attack at his home in South Kivu province but the gynaecologist escaped unhurt. Some media reports have speculated the attack may have had political overtones.
Mukwege returned to South Kivu in January 2013 to continue his work at the hospital.