Yazidi activist Nadia Murad wins joint Nobel Peace Prize for anti-rape efforts

Yazidi activist Nadia Murad wins joint Nobel Peace Prize for anti-rape efforts
The Nobel Peace Prize of 2018 has been jointly awarded to Nadia Murad and Dr Denis Mukegwe for their efforts in combating sexual violence.
3 min read
05 October, 2018
Nadia Murad was abducted by IS in northern Iraq in 2014 [AFP]

Yazidi activist Nadia Murad and human rights campaigner Denis Mukwege have won the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize for their respective efforts to end the use of sexual violence as a weapon of war.

"The 2018 Peace Laureate is the foremost, most unifying symbol, both nationally and internationally, of the struggle to end sexual violence in war and armed conflicts," the Nobel Committee said in a statement.

Murad, a survivor of the Islamic State group's brutal campaign of enslavement, torture and rape of Yazidi women, has campaigned for the freedom of her people since being released from almost three years in captivity.

Murad was taken from her home village of Kocho near Iraq's northern town of Sinjar in August 2014 and brought to IS-controlled Mosul, where she was gang-raped, and bought and sold multiple times by the militants.

She eventually fled Mosul with the help of a Muslim family, from where she crossed into Iraqi Kurdistan.

It was at this point that Murad learned of the deaths of six of her brothers and her mother.

Since fleeing Iraq, she has settled in Germany, where she leads her human rights work and campaigning for Yazidi rights.

In 2016, at the age of 23 Murad was named UN goodwill ambassador and won the EU's Sakharov Prize for Human Rights.

Dr Mukwege, 63, has devoted his career as a gyneacologist to defending victims of war-time sexual violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Along with his staff at the Panzi hospital in Bukavu, Mukwege has treated thousands of victims of rape, bringing him renown as the world's leading specialist in the field.

The Nobel committee praised Dr Mukwege for his consistent condemnation of the failure of the Congolese government and other nations for their failure to end sexual violence in war.

The committee said:Dr Mukwege, who has been nominated before: "Denis Mukwege's basic principle is that 'justice is everyone's business'.

Having jointly won the prize, Murad and Mykwege will share the nine million Swedish kronor (£777,000) prize.

This year, the Nobel Committee, based in Oslo, Norway, received 216 nominations for individuals and 115 organisations.

Last year's prize was awarded to the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons.

In recent years the Nobel committee has come under fire for its choice of winners, including in 2009 when US President Barack Obama was awarded the prize before he had achieved anything in office.

More recently, the Nobel Committee has been slammed for refusing to strip Myanmar's de-facto leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, of her 1991 prize in light of the persecution of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar.

Rights groups have criticised Suu Kyi for her perceived inaction against the violence, which has caused some 700,000 Rohingya Muslims to flee Myanmar to neighbouring Bangladesh.