The Nobel Peace Prize on Friday 5th October awarded a joint prize to two Anti Rape Activists. Dennis Mukwengwe, a Congolese Gynaecologist who has done corrective surgeries for women rape victims in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Nadia Murad, a 25-year-old, rape survivor who became an activist for the Yazidi people, campaigning to help put an end to human trafficking and calling on the world to take a tougher line on rape as a weapon of war.
The winners announced in the Norwegian capital Oslo on Friday won the award for their “efforts to end the use of sexual violence as a weapon of war”, Berit Reiss-Andersen, the Nobel committee chair, said.
The Nobel committee said that this year’s winners made a “crucial contribution to focussing attention on, and combating, such war crimes.” Mukwege has been nominated for the prize several times. He is protected around the clock at the hospital he established in Bukavu in 2008 by United Nations peacekeepers. A long-lasting civil war in the Democratic Republic of Congo has claimed at least 6 million lives.
Ms Murad escaped sex slavery at the hands of Isis to become the first survivor of captivity to be appointed a United Nations Goodwill Ambassador. The 23-year-old Yazidi was captured by the jihadi group in 2014 and subjected to sexual and physical abuse after being sold several times as a slave to a man with a wife and daughter.
Sex is often weaponized in areas of conflict, and the people who suffer most are women, children and the elderly. UN agencies estimate that more than 60,000 women were raped during the civil war in Sierra Leone (1991-2002), more than 40,000 in Liberia (1989-2003), up to 60,000 in the former Yugoslavia (1992-1995), and at least 200,000 in the Democratic Republic of the Congo since 1998.