Congolese doctor Denis Mukwege and Nadia Murad, former captive of Islamic State turned global advocate, were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for their work against sexual violence.
The prize was awarded for “their efforts to end the use of sexual violence as a weapon of war and armed conflict,” the Oslo-based Norwegian Nobel Committee said in a statement Friday. “Both laureates have made a crucial contribution to focusing attention on, and combating, such war crimes.”
Mukwege, 63, is the medical director of Panzi Hospital in Bukavu, the capital of South Kivu province in eastern Congo, which has been blighted by more than two decades of conflict.
He founded Panzi in 1999, a year after a war erupted between Congo and neighboring Rwanda that eventually spread to engulf half a dozen African countries. The hospital offered obstetric care and treatment for severe gynecological problems. Among its patients are victims of sexual violence, a hallmark of Congo’s conflict.
Murad, a member of the Yazidi minority in Iraq, was captured by the Islamic State as it overran villages in the Sinjar district. The Nobel committee said several hundred people were massacred in Murad’s village and she was captured and repeatedly subjected to rape and other abuses.
She managed to flee after three months and has since become a global spokeswoman on sexual- violence issues. In 2016, she was named the United Nations first Goodwill Ambassador for the Dignity of Survivors of Human Trafficking.