Noble deeds go unnoticed by Nobel committee

Lamar Ellis
October 8, 2018

In 2016, Nadia Murad escaped the clutches of the Islamic State in Iraq, whose troops had kidnapped her and kept her in confinement.

The announcement for the Nobel Peace Prize 2018.

By recognising the pair's work, the Nobel committee has placed a spotlight on the use of sexual violence in war as a global problem.

In 1999, Mulwege founded the Panzi Hospital in the city of Bukavu where he and his team have aided more than 50,000 women and girls suffering from gynecological damage from sexualized violence in a region that has been wracked by vicious civil war for much of the past 20 years.

He dedicated his award to all women affected by sexual violence.

Nadia Murad was a victim of sexual violence when the Islamic State militants attacked villages of Sinjar district in 2014 to erase Yazidi population.

Ms. Murad said she shared the award "with all Yazidis with all the Iraqis, Kurds and all the minorities and all survivors of sexual violence around the world".

Her nightmare began when the jihadists stormed her village in northern Iraq in August 2014. "We hope that the world will not put off acting with force and determination in your favor because the survival of humanity depends on you", Mukwege said. "After conversion, they did whatever they wanted".

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A recipient of the EU's prestigious Sakharov Human Rights Award in 2016 and the Council of Europe's Václav Havel human rights prize, Murad has shown extraordinary courage in the face of trauma, recounting her own sufferings and speaking up on behalf of other victims.

At 11 am, CEST (2.30 pm, India time), the five-member Norwegian committee ended the guessing game by announcing this year's Nobel Peace Prize, which went to Nadia Murad and Denis Mukwege.

The peace prize, along with awards in literature, physics and medicine, was created by Swedish industrialist Alfred Nobel and first awarded in 1901.

British-Lebanese human rights lawyer Amal expressed her delight at Murad scooping the title.

A government spokesman said "we have not always been in agreement" and said Mr Mukwege has had a tendency to "politicise" his humanitarian work but added that "we salute that a compatriot is recognised".

The recognition of Mukwege's work "is merited but we will continue to oppose anything that mixes humanitarian work with politics", a spokesman said.

Dr Mukwege is a Congolese gynaecologist who, along with his colleagues, has treated tens of thousands of victims. He has consistently condemned impunity for gang rape and "criticized the Congolese government and other countries for not doing enough to stop the use of sexual violence against women and as a weapon of war".

He said that compared to decades ago, there is a growing awareness of sexual harassment and sexual assault, citing the recent #MeToo movement on social media.

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