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Nobel peace laureates challenge the world to end sexual violence

NTB Scanpix/Heiko Junge via REUTERS

Nobel peace laureates challenge the world to end sexual violence

Nobel peace laureates challenge the world to end sexual violence

This year’s Nobel Peace Prize winners on Sunday called for justice for the victims of sexual violence in conflicts around the world, a day before they will receive the award for their efforts to put an end to rape as a weapon of war.

Yazidi activist Nadia Murad and Congolese doctor Denis Mukwege will be jointly presented with the Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo on Monday for “their efforts to end the use of sexual violence as a weapon of war and armed conflict”. 

Denis Mukwege is a doctor who helps victims of sexual violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Nadia Murad, a Yazidi rights activist and survivor of sexual slavery by Islamic State.

Nadia Murad and Denis Mukwege together with the Norwegian Nobel Peace Prize committee, Anne Enger, Thorbjorn Jagland, Henrik Syse, Asle Toje and Berit Reiss-Andersen, pose for a photograph after a news conference with the 2018 Nobel Laureates at the Nobel Institute in Olso, Norway December 9, 2018. Heiko Junge/NTB Scanpix/via REUTERS

Murad, 25, who was taken hostage in Iraq by the Islamic State group in 2014 but escaped, said the prize was an honour for all of her Yazidi community, and “a sign” for the thousands of women still held by jihadists. 

“This prize, one prize cannot remove all the violence and all the attacks on pregnant women, on children, on women and give them justice,” she told a press conference in Oslo. 

Mukwege heads the Panzi Hospital in the eastern Congo city of Bukavu. The clinic receives thousands of women each year, many of them requiring surgery from sexual violence.

Mukwege, who lives in the grounds of the Panzi hospital and who frequently receives death threats, said justice needed to be included in any peace process.

Winning the Nobel Peace Prize, he said, would help to bring perpetrators to justice.

“It will help the international community take its responsibilities when it comes to the victims of sexual violence,” he said.

Murad, now a UN ambassador for victims of human trafficking living in Germany, said the “steps towards justice” had given her hope. 

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