OSLO - Last year's winner was the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) due to its efforts "to draw attention to the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of any use of nuclear weapons."
The Norwegian Nobel Committee has named Denis Mukwege, a gynecologist treating victims of sexual violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Nadia Murad, a human rights activist and survivor of sexual slavery by Daesh in Iraq, as the winners of the 2018 Peace Prize.
2018 Nobel Peace Prize laureate Denis Mukwege is the helper who has devoted his life to defending victims of war-time sexual violence. Fellow laureate Nadia Murad is the witness who tells of the abuses perpetrated against herself and others.
"The Norwegian Nobel Committee has decided to award the Nobel Peace Prize for 2018 to Denis Mukwege and Nadia Murad for their efforts to end the use of sexual violence as a weapon of war and armed conflict. Both laureates have made a crucial contribution to focusing attention on, and combating, such war crimes," the committee said.
The physician Denis Mukwege, awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, has spent large parts of his adult life helping the victims of sexual violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Dr. Mukwege and his staff have treated thousands of patients who have fallen victim to such assaults.
"Denis Mukwege is a helper who has devoted his life to defending these victims. Nadia Murad is the witness who tells of the abuses perpetrated against herself and others," it said.
Nadia Murad, awarded the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize, is the witness who tells of the abuses perpetrated against herself and others. She has shown uncommon courage in recounting her own sufferings and speaking up on behalf of other victims.
Speaking about Nadia Murad, the committee stressed that she showed "uncommon courage in recounting her own suffering."
This year 329 candidates were nominated for the prize, of which 112 were public and international organizations. The Peace Prize is one of five that was bequeathed at the very end of the 19th century by the Swedish industrialist and inventor Alfred Nobel. Unlike other Nobel awards and according to the will of its founder, the peace award ceremony takes place in Oslo.
The cash amount of each of Nobel Prize in 2018 is 9 million Swedish crowns (one million US dollars).
Dr. Denis Mukwege, a Congolese gynecological surgeon who has treated thousands of women, and Nadia Murad, who became the bold voice and dignified face of the women forced into sexual slavery by the Islamic State group.
Dr. Mukwege campaigned relentlessly to shine a spotlight on the plight of Congolese women, even after nearly being assassinated a few years ago. Ms. Murad, who was held captive by the Islamic State, also known as ISIS, has told and retold her story of suffering to organizations around the world, helping to persuade the United States State Department to recognize the genocide of her people at the hands of the terrorist group.
“RAPE AND NOTHING ELSE”
Murad was 21-years-old in 2014 when Islamic State militants attacked the village where she had grown up in northern Iraq. The militants killed those who refused to convert to Islam, including six of her brothers and her mother.
Murad, along with many of the other young women in her village, was taken into captivity by the militants, and sold repeatedly for sex as part of Islamic State’s slave trade.
She eventually escaped captivity with the help of a Sunni Muslim family in Mosul, the group’s de facto capital in Iraq, and became an advocate for the rights of her community around the world.
In 2017, Murad published a memoir of her ordeal, “The Last Girl”. In it, she recounted in harrowing detail her months in captivity, her escape and her journey to activism.
“At some point, there was rape and nothing else. This becomes your normal day,” she wrote.
The militants’ attack on Yazidi communities in northern Iraq was part of what the United Nations has called a genocidal campaign launched by the Sunni militants against the religious minority.
The award of the prize follows a year in which the abuse and mistreatment of women in all walks of life across the globe has been a focus of attention.
Asked whether the #metoo movement, a prominent women’s rights activist forum, was an inspiration for this year’s prize, Nobel Committee Chairwoman Berit Reiss-Andersen said: “Metoo and war crimes are not quite the same. But they have in common that they see the suffering of women, the abuse of women and that it is important that women leave the concept of shame behind and speak up.”
The prize will be presented in Oslo on Dec. 10, the anniversary of the death of Swedish industrialist Alfred Nobel, who founded the awards in his 1895 will.