Denis Mukwege And Nadia Murad Win Nobel Peace Prize For Fighting Sexual Violence

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The Nobel Peace Prize award. photographed in 2010.

Berit Roald/AFP/Getty Images

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Berit Roald/AFP/Getty Images

The Nobel Peace Prize award. photographed in 2010.

Berit Roald/AFP/Getty Images

The 2018 Nobel Peace Prize has been awarded to Denis Mukwege and Nadia Murad for their contributions to combating wartime sexual assault.

The prize was announced by the Norwegian Nobel Committee in Oslo, Norway, on Friday morning. The committee praised the winners for being symbols in the fight to end the use of sexual violence as a weapon of war and armed conflict.

Mukwege, a Congolese gynecologist, has treated victims of sexual violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo for most of his adult life. He founded the Panzi Hospital, which supports survivors of sexual assault.

“His basic principal is that justice is everyone’s business,” the committee said.

Murad herself is a victim of sexual war crimes.

The 25-year-old is a member of the Yazidi minority in northern Iraq and was taken captive by ISIS members who had launched an attack on her small village. She was held as a sex slave and subject to other abuses for three months before escaping. In 2016, at the age of 23, she was named the U.N.’s first Goodwill Ambassador for the Dignity of Survivors of Human Trafficking.

“She refused to accept the social codes that require women to remain silent and ashamed of the abuses to which they have been subjected,” the committee said.

There were 331 candidates for the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize, the second-highest number of candidates ever. The Peace Prize is the only Nobel Prize awarded by the Norwegian Nobel Committee.

Last year’s prize was awarded to the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, or ICAN, a global organization seeking to “outlaw and eliminate all nuclear weapons” under international law.

The committee praised ICAN for drawing attention to “the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of any use of nuclear weapons.” The world’s nuclear powers have not committed to their treaty.

This year’s Nobel Prizes in Medicine, Physics and Chemistry were announced by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences earlier this week. The Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics will be awarded on Monday.

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