Nadia Murad & Denis Mukwege win the Nobel Peace Prize

October 5, 2018

The 2018 Nobel Peace Prize has gone to campaigners against rape in warfare, Nadia Murad and Denis Mukwege.

Ms Murad is an Iraqi Yazidi who was tortured and raped by Islamic State militants and later became the face of a campaign to free the Yazidi people.

Dr Mukwege is a Congolese gynaecologist who, along with his colleagues, has treated tens of thousands of victims.

Some 331 individuals and organisations were nominated for the prestigious peace award this year.

The winners announced in the Norwegian capital Oslo on Friday won the award for their “efforts to end the use of sexual violence as a weapon of war”, Berit Reiss-Andersen, the Nobel committee chair, said.

The pair both made a “crucial contribution to focusing attention on, and combating, such war crimes”, Ms Reiss-Andersen added.

Ms Murad, 25, endured three months as a sex slave at the hands of Islamic State (IS) militants. She was bought and sold several times and subjected to sexual and physical abuse during her captivity.

She became an activist for the Yazidi people after escaping IS in November 2014, campaigning to help put an end to human trafficking and calling on the world to take a tougher line on rape as a weapon of war.

BBC Persian’s Nafiseh Kohnavard, who met Ms Murad after she had escaped from her IS captors, tweeted an image of the meeting after the prize was announced.She was awarded the Vaclav Havel Human Rights Prize by the Council of Europe in 2016 and called for an international court to judge crimes committed by IS in her acceptance speech in Strasbourg.

Ms Murad, the first Iraqi to win the award, was named the UN’s first goodwill ambassador for survivors of human trafficking later that year.

Dr Mukwege, meanwhile, has spent decades helping rape victims in the Democratic Republic of Congo. He was operating at his hospital when he heard the news, according to Norwegian newspaper VG.

“I was in the operating room so when they started to make noise around [it] I wasn’t really thinking about what was going on, and suddenly some people came in and told me the news,” he told the newspaper.

He and his colleagues are said to have treated about 30,000 rape victims, developing great expertise in the treatment of serious injuries sustained during sex assaults that were carried out as a weapon of war.

BBC