Nobel Peace Prize honours the fight against sexual violence

October 5, 2018 2:25 PM

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Nobel Peace Prize honours the fight against sexual violence

OSLO, Norway (AP) — A Congolese doctor who treats rape victims and an Iraqi woman who speaks out for those — like herself — who were raped and tortured by the Islamic State group won the Nobel Peace Prize on Friday for their work to end the use of sexual violence as a weapon of war.

Dr Denis Mukwege and Nadia Murad “have made a crucial contribution to focusing attention on, and combating, issues such as war crimes,” the Norwegian Nobel Committee said.

Mukwege, 63, founded a hospital in eastern Congo’s Bukavu region and has treated thousands of women, many of whom were victims of gang rape in the central African nation that has been wracked by conflict for decades.

Armed men tried to kill him in 2012, forcing him to temporarily leave the country.

At 19, Murad was one of an estimated 3,000 Yazidi girls and women kidnapped in 2014 by IS militants in Iraq and sold into sex slavery.

She was raped, beaten and tortured before managing to escape after three months.

After getting treatment in Germany, she then spoke to the world about the horrors still being faced by her religious minority.

At 23, she was named the U.N.’s first Goodwill Ambassador for the Dignity of Survivors of Human Trafficking.

Both honourees are the first from their countries — Congo and Iraq — to receive a Nobel Prize and will split the award, which is worth 9 million Swedish kronor or US$1.01 million).

The Nobel Peace award comes amid a heightened attention to the sexual abuse of women — in war, in the workplace, and in society — that has been highlighted by the “#MeToo” movement.

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