Sex­ual vi­o­lence cam­paign­ers share No­bel Prize

Viet Nam News - - WORLD -

OSLO — Con­golese doc­tor De­nis Muk­wege and Yazidi cam­paigner Na­dia Mu­rad won the 2018 No­bel Peace Prize yesterday for their work in fight­ing sex­ual vi­o­lence in con­flicts around the world.

The pair won the award “for their ef­forts to end the use of sex­ual vi­o­lence as a weapon of war and armed con­flict,” No­bel com­mit­tee chair­woman Berit Reiss-An­der­sen said in un­veil­ing the win­ners in Oslo.

“A more peace­ful world can only be achieved if women and their fun­da­men­tal rights and se­cu­rity are recog­nised and pro­tected in war,” she said.

One a doc­tor, the other a vic­tim of rape, both have come to rep­re­sent the strug­gle against a global scourge which goes well beyond any sin­gle con­flict, as the #MeToo move­ment has shown.

The prize was an­nounced as #MeToo marks its first an­niver­sary after a year in which al­le­ga­tions of sex­ual abuse, rape and ha­rass­ment have top­pled dozens of pow­er­ful men.

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.

‘Mass de­struc­tion weapon’

Muk­wege, 63, was recog­nised for two decades of work to help women re­cover from the vi­o­lence and trauma of sex­ual abuse and rape in the war-torn eastern Demo­cratic Repub­lic of Congo.

Women, chil­dren and even ba­bies just a few months old, Muk­wege has treated tens of thou­sands of vic­tims of rape at Panzi hospi­tal which he founded in 1999 in South Kivu.

Known as “Doc­tor Mir­a­cle”, he is an out­spo­ken critic of the abuse of women dur­ing war who has de­scribed rape as “a weapon of mass de­struc­tion”.

Along­side Muk­wege, the com­mit­tee hon­oured Mu­rad, a 25year-old Iraqi woman from the Yazidi com­mu­nity who in 2014 was kid­napped by Is­lamic State mil­i­tants and en­dured three months as a sex slave be­fore man­ag­ing to es­cape.

She was one of thou­sands of Yazidi women and girls who were ab­ducted, raped and bru­talised by ji­hadists dur­ing their as­sault that year on the Kur­dish-speak­ing mi­nor­ity, which the United Na­tions has de­scribed as geno­cide.

Her night­mare be­gan when the ji­hadists stormed her vil­lage in north­ern Iraq in Au­gust 2014. From there she was taken to Mo­sul where she was re­peat­edly gang-raped, tor­tured and beaten.

“The first thing they did was force us to con­vert to Is­lam”, she said two years ago. “After con­ver­sion, they did what­ever they wanted.”

After her es­cape, she quickly be­came a fig­ure­head for ef­forts to pro­tect the Yazidi com­mu­nity and was later named a UN am­bas­sador for vic­tims of hu­man traf­fick­ing.

‘Per­sonal se­cu­rity at risk’

Both Muk­wege and Mu­rad had “put their per­sonal se­cu­rity at risk” by fo­cus­ing at­ten­tion on and com­bat­ing such war crimes, Reis­sAn­der­sen said.

“De­nis Muk­wege is the 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.

“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.”

Whether in Africa, the Mid­dle East or Myanmar, rape has been used against hun­dreds of thou­sands of peo­ple, ei­ther as a weapon of war or tool in the op­pres­sion of mi­nori­ties.

Sex­ual vi­o­lence as a weapon of war has been go­ing on for cen­turies, but it was only re­cently ac­knowl­edged as a crime against hu­man­ity with the UN’s adop­tion in 2008 of Res­o­lu­tion 1820.

And the #MeToo move­ment, which rose up a year ago fol­low­ing al­le­ga­tions of rape, sex­ual abuse and ha­rass­ment against Hol­ly­wood di­rec­tor Har­vey We­in­stein and has since swept the globe, has also had a very sober­ing ef­fect.

Muk­wege and Mu­rad will share the pres­ti­gious prize of a gold medal, a diploma and a cheque for nine mil­lion Swedish kro­nor — al­most US$1 mil­lion or 863,000 eu­ros.

The award will be pre­sented at a cer­e­mony in Oslo on De­cem­ber 10, the an­niver­sary of the death of prize cre­ator Al­fred No­bel, a Swedish phi­lan­thropist and sci­en­tist who died in 1896. — AFP

Na­dia Mu­rad, a pub­lic ad­vo­cate for the Yazidi com­mu­nity in Iraq and a sur­vivor of sex­ual en­slave­ment by Is­lamic State ji­hadists, de­liv­ers a speech after be­ing awarded co-lau­re­ate of the 2016 Sakharov hu­man rights prize at the Euro­pean par­lia­ment in Stras­bourg. — AFP/VNA Photo

Con­golese gy­ne­col­o­gist De­nis Muk­wege poses dur­ing a photo ses­sion in Paris in 2016. — AFP/VNA Photo

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Viet Nam

© PressReader. All rights reserved.