This year, the Norwegian Nobel Committee awarded Congolese gynecological surgeon, Denis Mukwege, who has long worked to treat thousands of women and girls affected by rape and sexual violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Iraqi human rights activist, Nadia Murad,a Yazidi woman from the northern Iraqi town of Sinjar who was held as a sex slave by ISIS for their efforts and actions towards the end of sexual violence.
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”.
Mukwege is 63-year-old Congolese gynecologist who set up the Panzi hospital in Democratic Republic of Congo eastern city of Bukavu nearly 20 years ago – shortly after his first experience of treating a woman who had been raped and mutilated by armed men. Dr. Mukwege went to medical school in neighboring Burundi and later studied gynecology and obstetrics at the University of Angers in France. He has received many other international awards, including the 2008 UN Human Rights Prize. He was named African of the Year in 2009. His hospital now treats more than 3,500 women a year. Sometimes Dr. Mukwege performs as many as 10 operations a day.
Murad’s mother and six of her brothers and stepbrothers were executed. Murad, along with other unmarried women, was taken as a sex slave and passed around various ISIS militants. In 2016, at age 23, she was made a UN goodwill ambassador for the dignity of survivors of human trafficking. She becomes the 17th woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize and is its second-youngest recipient after Malala Yousafzai.