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Girls & Women

2018 Nobel Peace Prize Awarded to Nadia Murad and Dr. Denis Mukwege for Fighting Sexual Violence


Why Global Citizens Should Care
The UN’s Global Goals call for an end to all violence, including against women and children. The use of sexual violence as a weapon of war is a horrific reality, but the work of people like Nadia Murad and Dr. Denis Mukwege can help bring it to an end. You can join us by taking action here for the Global Goals.

The winners of the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize have been announced — recognised for their work in ending the use of sexual violence as a weapon of war and armed conflict. 

Nadia Murad and Dr. Denis Mukwege have “both put their own personal security at risk by courageously combatting war crimes and securing justice for victims,” according to the Nobel committee. 

The winners of the prestigious award were announced Friday morning, at the Norwegian Nobel Institute in Oslo. 

Take action: Tell World Leaders to Redouble Their Efforts by Amending Laws to Prevent Sexual Violence

Murad, now 25, is the second-youngest recipient of the award, after Malala Yousafzai, who won the award in 2014 at age 17.

Murad has, according to the committee, shown “uncounted courage in recounting her own sufferings and speaking up on behalf of other victims.”

In August 2014, she was abducted from her home in the Sinjar region of Northern Iraq when ISIS fighters descended on the Yazidi community.

Related Stories July 20, 2016 CHIME FOR CHANGE Nadia Murad Tells Her Story – Escaping Sex Slavery to Protect Yazidi Women

In a matter of days, jihadis murdered over 3,000 people — including Murad’s mother and six of her brothers — and kidnapped over 6,000 women and children to hold them captive as slaves for sexual exploitation. 

Since her escape from captivity, Murad has campaigned tirelessly — with the support of Amal Clooney — to get justice for the Yazidi people and for greater international action against ISIS. 

Murad also spoke on the Global Citizen stage in July 2017 in Hamburg, Germany, as part of a long-running campaign to achieve justice for the Yazidi people. She appeared alongside Demi Lovato and Syrian Muzoon Almellehan, calling on the world to seek justice for the well-being and mental health of refugees. 

Global Citizen first started supporting Murad and campaigning to help get justice for the Yazidi community in early 2016, after hearing her harrowing story, and witnessing her incredible resilience. 

More than 100,000 Global Citizens around the world have so far taken action in support of the campaign, Murad, and the Yazidi community. 

Related Stories July 6, 2017 CHIME FOR CHANGE Demi Lovato, Nadia Murad, and ‘Syria’s Malala’ Demand Justice for Refugees at Global Citizen Festival Hamburg

Mukwege, meanwhile, is a gynecological surgeon, and the founder and medical director of Panzi Hospital in Bukava, Democratic Republic of Congo. 

According to the Nobel committee, the Congolese doctor has been “the foremost, most unifying symbol both nationally and Internationally of the struggle to end sexual violence in war and armed conflict.” 

Since 1999, he and his staff have helped to care for more than 50,000 survivors of sexual violence. The Panzi Hospital, which Mukwege founded, not only treats survivors for their physical wounds but also provides legal and psycho-social services. Patients who have been raped and can’t afford care are treated without charge. 

According to the Panzi Foundation website: “Dr. Mukwege has been fearless in his efforts to increase protections for women and to advocate that those responsible for sexual violence be brought to justice.”

The winners of the Nobel Peace Prize are chosen by a committee of five people elected by the Norwegian parliament. 

This year there were 331 candidates in total — the second-highest number of candidates ever, according to CNN. The number included 216 individuals and 115 organizations. 

The names of the nominees aren’t made public, but favorites at the bookmakers included controversial figures like Kim Jong-un and Donald Trump. Trump was reportedly nominated by a group of 18 Republican lawmakers, who wrote to the committee in May this year nominating him “in recognition of his work to end the Korean War, decnuclearize the Korean peninsula, and bring peace to the region.” 

It came after Trump had threatened North Korea with “fire and fury” in August 2017. 

Last year’s winner of the Peace Prize was the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), according to CNN, “for its work to draw attention to the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of any use of nuclear weapons and for its groundbreaking efforts to achieve a treaty-based prohibition of such weapons.” 

In 2016, the prize was awarded to the Colombian president, Juan Manuel Santos “for his resolute efforts to bring the country’s more than 50-year-long civil war to an end” after reaching a deal with the FARC rebel group. 

The 2018 Peace Prize is the fourth Nobel award announced this week — including the Nobel Prize in Chemistry, the Nobel Prize in Medicine, and the Nobel Prize in Physics. 

The physics prize went to a woman for the first time in 55 years, and for only the third time in history. Donna Strickland, from Canada, was awarded the prize together with Gerard Mourou from France — for their work on generating high-intensity, ultra-short optical pulses.