Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 21 August 2019

Nobel Peace Prize 2018 winners call for an end to rape in conflict

Laureates have called on the international community to step up to protect victims across the world

Yazidi activist Nadia Murad and Congolese doctor Denis Mukwege were presented with the Nobel Peace Prize for their work in campaigning against rape in warfare during an emotional ceremony on Monday.

Ms Murad was imprisoned by ISIS in Iraq in 2014. She managed to escape almost four years ago and has worked tirelessly to raise the profile of the Yazidi people ever since.

Dr Mukwege is a gynaecologist who has treated women in the Democratic Republic of Congo who have been raped by armed men.

The Nobel Committee announced in October that the pair would be jointly awarded the prize "for their efforts to end the use of sexual violence as a weapon of war and armed conflict".

During her speech at the prize giving in Oslo, Ms Murad called on the international community to step up in its efforts to protect the Yazidis from being targeted by terrorist organisations again.

"If we want the Yazidis to leave displacement camps and return to their areas, and give them confidence again, the international community should provide them with international protection under United Nations supervision," she said at the ceremony in Oslo.

More than 6,500 women and children from the Yazidi minority in Iraq and Syria were imprisoned by ISIS. Around 3,000 women and girls are still missing.

“If justice is not done, this genocide will be repeated against us and against other vulnerable communities,” Ms Murad said.

The 25-year-old, the first Iraqi to win the peace prize, was visibly emotional as Nobel committee chairwoman Berit Reiss-Andersen recounted the horrors of her time in captivity.

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Dr Mukwege gave examples of the horrific injuries inflicted on his patients during his 20 years at Panzi hospital in Bukavu.

"Babies, girls, young women, mothers, grandmothers, and also men and boys, cruelly raped, often publicly and collectively, by inserting burning plastic or sharp objects in their genitals," he told the audience.

Dr Mukwege, a critic of current Democratic Republic of Congo president Joseph Kabila, hit out at those in power in his country and called for a global fund to help victims.

“I call on the world to be a witness and I urge you to join us in order to put an end to this suffering that shames our common humanity. The people of my country desperately need peace,” he said.

The pair were presented with a gold medal, diploma and nine million Swedish krona (Dh3.7 million).

Updated: December 10, 2018 06:23 PM

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