The Norwegian Nobel Committee awarded the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize to Denis Mukwege and Nadia Murad on October 5, 2018 “for their efforts to end the use of sexual violence as a weapon of war and armed conflict.”
From the Nobel Prize site:
“The physician Denis Mukwege has spent large parts of his adult life helping the victims of sexual violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Since the Panzi Hospital was established in Bukavu in 1999, Dr. Mukwege and his staff have treated thousands of patients who have fallen victim to such assaults. Most of the abuses have been committed in the context of a long-lasting civil war that has cost the lives of more than six million Congolese.”
“Nadia Murad [a member of the Yazidi minority in northern Iraq] is just one of an estimated 3 000 Yazidi girls and women who were victims of rape and other abuses by the IS army. The abuses were systematic, and part of a military strategy. Thus they served as a weapon in the fight against Yazidis and other religious minorities. After a three-month nightmare Nadia Murad managed to flee. Following her escape, she chose to speak openly about what she had suffered. In 2016, at the age of just 23, she was named the UN’s first Goodwill Ambassador for the Dignity of Survivors of Human Trafficking.”
PHM-USA friends express their congratulations, respect, and solidarity with these fearless fighters for peace. Health Alliance International calls for “the protection of all people’s health against the violence of war and armed conflict.” And Hesperian Health Guides challenges us to call on the US government “to protect women and children from sexual violence and to stop selling the weapons that fuel war in the Middle East and sub-Saharan Africa.”
In Solidarity: Murad & Mukwege awarded 2018 Nobel Peace Prize
from Health Alliance International
HAI would like to express our congratulations and deepest respect to the winners of the 2018 Nobel Prize for Peace, Yazidi rights activist Nadia Murad and Congolese doctor Denis Mukwege. Their tireless efforts to campaign against sexual violence and the use of rape as a weapon of war exemplify a deep commitment to human rights and dignity as well as demonstrate an extraordinary level of bravery.
Murad and Mukwege challenge us to look beyond combat violence and confront the broader implications of war on the physical, mental, and emotional health of communities, willingly or unwillingly, engaged in conflict. HAI advocates for the use of public health solutions to end war and the protection of all people’s health against the violence of war and armed conflict.
We salute, thank, and lift up these two winners with the utmost admiration.
A Peace Prize against sexual violence
from Hesperian Health Guides
It was easy to miss the positive news regarding sexual violence last week given our own national drama around sexual abuse — the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to Dr. Denis Mukwege, a Congolese gynecologist who treats survivors of sexual violence, and Nadia Murad, a Yazidi activist motivated by her experience of sexual violence as a captive of ISIS. As a tool of male power and control, rape increases dramatically during war, and it is long overdue that the international community recognize the struggle against it with the Peace Prize.
Dr. Mukwege dedicated his prize to “women of all countries bruised by conflict and facing everyday violence.” His Panzi Hospital in Bukavu treats women suffering from decades of sexual violence from government troops and local militias. He operates under spartan conditions, often without water, electricity, anesthesia, or essential medicines. His most vulnerable patients — survivors of sexual violence, malnourished children, and people with HIV/AIDS — receive free treatment. The hospital also operates a mobile clinic and a safe house for women, offering medical and psycho-social care, as well as literacy and livelihood training.
Nadia Murad shared her award “with Yazidis, Iraqis, Kurds, other persecuted minorities and all of the countless victims of sexual violence around the world.” Abducted by ISIS in 2014 with thousands of other Yazidi girls in northern Iraq, she refused to be shamed by her experiences of rape after she escaped. Instead, she told her story publicly, published her memoir The Last Girl, and forced the world to recognize the Yazidi genocide. Nadia is the UN’s first Goodwill Ambassador for the Dignity of Survivors of Human Trafficking. She founded Nadia’s Initiative to assist survivors of genocide and human trafficking in healing themselves and rebuilding their communities.
We can honor Denis Mukwege and Nadia Murad by calling on our government to protect women and children from sexual violence and to stop selling the weapons that fuel war in the Middle East and sub-Saharan Africa.