Nobel Committee: Peace Prize Sheds Light on ‘Sexual Violence as a Weapon of War’

Nadia Murad: from jihadists' captive to Nobel winner

Congolese doctor Denis Mukwege and Yazidi activist Nadia Murad, who survived horrific sexual abuse at the hands of the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL), received the Nobel Peace Prize Monday.

At a ceremony in Oslo, Mukwege, known as “Doctor Miracle” received the acclaimed prize for his work in helping tens of thousands of victims of sexual abuse and Murad for turning her experience into powerful advocacy for Iraq’s Yazidi community.

“Each of them in their own way has helped to give greater visibility to war-time sexual violence so that the perpetrators can be held accountable for their actions,” Nobel committee chairwoman Berit Reiss-Andersen, noted when the award was announced in October, referring to the laureates, the Agency France-Presse (AFP) news agency reports.

The prize was “for their efforts to end the use of sexual violence as a weapon of war and armed conflict,” the Norwegian Nobel Committee reportedly declared.

Shortly after receiving the prize, Murad stressed that she wants to see ISIS rapists brought to justice.

“For me, justice doesn’t mean killing all of the [ISIS] members who committed these crimes against us,” Murad said, according to AFP.

“Justice for me is taking [ISIS] members to a court of law and seeing them in court admitting to the crimes they committed against Yazidis and being punished for those crimes specifically,” she added.

The U.S. and the United Nations have acknowledged that ISIS committed genocide against Yazidis (or Yezidis) and other ethno-religious minorities in Iraq and Syria.

Murad, now a U.N. ambassador for victims of human trafficking, was one of the thousands of Yazidi women sold into sexual slavery by ISIS. She was reportedly beaten and forced to marry a jihadi, like other Yazidi women.

ISIS may still be holding thousands of Yazidi women who remain missing.

Both Murad and Dr. Mukwege have dedicated their award to rape victims across the world, saying they hope their prize will raise awareness of sexual violence and make it harder for the international community to ignore it.

“We cannot say that we didn’t act because we didn’t know. Now everyone knows. And I think now the international community has a responsibility to act,” the surgeon told reporters at a news conference on Sunday.

The doctor reportedly spent 20 years treating the injuries, both mentally and physically, on women in the war-ravaged Democratic Republic of the Congo in Africa.

“What we see during armed conflicts is that women’s bodies become battlefields and this cannot be acceptable,” he proclaimed.

The Nobel Peace Prize includes a gold medal, diploma, and $1 million.


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