No­bel Peace Prize to hon­our cham­pi­ons of strug­gle against sex­ual vi­o­lence

Sunday Times (Sri Lanka) - - INTERNATIONAL -

Cham­pi­ons of the fight against sex­ual vi­o­lence, Con­golese doc­tor De­nis Muk­wege and Yazidi ac­tivist Na­dia Mu­rad, a for­mer cap­tive of ji­hadists, will on Mon­day re­ceive the No­bel Peace Prize, which this year high­lights rape as a weapon of war.

Mu­rad, 25, and Muk­wege, 63, will be jointly pre­sented with the prize in Oslo, af­ter they were an­nounced as win­ners by the Nor­we­gian No­bel Com­mit­tee in Oc­to­ber for "for their ef­forts to end the use of sex­ual vi­o­lence as a weapon of war and armed con­flict".

Muk­wege, called "Doc­tor Mir­a­cle" for his sur­gi­cal skills, has spent twenty years treat­ing the hor­ren­dous wounds and in­tense emo­tional trauma in­flicted on women in DR Congo's war-torn east.

He has been scathing about the world's lack­lus­tre re­sponse to sex­ual vi­o­lence in con­flict.

Fel­low lau­re­ate Mu­rad has be­come a tire­less cam­paigner for the rights of Yazidis since sur­viv­ing the hor­rors of cap­tiv­ity un­der the Is­lamic State group, who stormed across swathes of Iraq and Syria tar­get­ing her Kur­dish-speak­ing com­mu­nity.

Cap­tured in 2014, she suf­fered forced mar­riage, beat­ings and gang-rape be­fore she was able to es­cape.

The pair have ded­i­cated their prize to the hun­dreds of thou­sands of women around the world who have en­dured sex­ual vi­o­lence.

- Quest for jus­tice

The co-lau­re­ates have come to rep­re­sent the strug­gle against a global scourge that goes well be­yond any sin­gle con­flict, as the #MeToo move­ment has shown.

Muk­wege has treated tens of thou­sands of vic­tims -- women, chil­dren and even ba­bies just a few months old -- at Panzi hos­pi­tal which he founded in 1999 in DR Congo's South Kivu.

Mu­rad was among thou­sands of Yazidi women and girls who were ab­ducted, raped and bru­talised by ji­hadists dur­ing their as­sault in 2014.

Older women and men faced sum­mary ex­e­cu­tion dur­ing the IS as­sault, which the United Na­tions has de­scribed as a pos­si­ble geno­cide. Her mother and six of her brothers were killed.

Mu­rad is now UN am­bas­sador for vic­tims of hu­man traf­fick­ing and is at the fore­front of ef­forts to pro­tect the Yazidi com­mu­nity -- and find jus­tice for the vic­tims of the ji­hadists, a mis­sion she has em­barked on with in­ter­na­tional hu­man rights lawyer Amal Clooney.

(Cour­tesy : AFP)

De­nis Muk­wege and Na­dia Mu­rad have ded­i­cated their prize to the hun­dreds of thou­sands of women around the world who have en­dured sex­ual vi­o­lence / AFP

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