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Wednesday 6 December 2023 Dublin: 8°C
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Denis Mukwege and Nadia Murad have won the Nobel peace prize for 2018

The Congolese doctor and Iraqi human rights activist have been honored with the world-renowned humanitarian prize this morning.

pjimage Denis Mukwege (l) and Nadia Murad

THE NOBEL PEACE prize winners for 2018 are a Congolese physician and an Iraqi human rights activist.

Denis Mukwege and Nadia Murad have been announced as the winners by chairperson of the Norwegian Nobel Committee Berit Reiss-Andersen this morning.

The two received the prize for their work in fighting sexual violence in conflicts around the globe, for their “efforts to end the use of sexual violence as a weapon of war” in the words of the committee.

“A more peaceful world can only be achieved if women and their fundamental rights and security are recognised and protected in war,” Reiss-Andersen said.

She added that neither of the prizewinners had been contactable by phone this morning to let them know.

“If they are watching this, my heartfelt congratulations,” she said at the brief ceremony, which was livestreamed on the web.

Sexual violence

63-year-old Mukwege, a gynecologist, has spent many years aiding the victims of sexual violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). He and his staff “have treated thousands of patients who have fallen victim to such assaults” the committee said.

Murad is a member of the Yazidi minority in Iraq. She was captured by the Islamic State and repeatedly raped and abused. She has shown “uncounted courage in recounting her own suffering” according to the committee. She was abducted in August 2014 along with her sisters and many other women who weren’t considered to old to be sexually exploited. Six of her brothers died during the same incursion.

Held in Mosul, northern Iraq (where she was repeatedly beaten, burned with cigarettes, and raped), She finally escaped when her captor left the house in which she was being held unlocked. She has given testimony ever since as to the plight of the Yazidi people.

At 25, Murad is the second youngest-ever recipient of the award.

Mukwege has been on the shortlist for the famed prize for several years. In winning, he has denied the world the farrago that would have surrounded any of Donald Trump, Kim Jong-Un, or Kim Kardashian receiving the award.

He set up the famed Panzi Hospital in the city of Bukavu in eastern DRC in 1999 to help the victims of sexual violence, a common weapon of war in the aftermath of the first Congo War in 1996.

The hospital has since treated over 85,000 women who had suffered the effects of sexual violence.

Mukwege, affectionately known as ‘Doctor Miracle’, has long criticised the abuse of women during war as being a ‘weapon of mass destruction’.

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