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Friday , November 27 2020

Nobel laureates urge world to help victims of rape in conflict

Iraqi Yazidi-Kurdish human rights activist and co-laureate of the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize Nadia Murad and Congolese gynecologist and co-laureate of the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize Denis Mukwege pose after they were given their awards during the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony 2018 on Dec 10 at the City Hall in Oslo, Norwa

Nobel laureates Denis Mukwege and Nadia Murad called on the world to protect victims of wartime sexual violence in their Peace Prize acceptance speeches on Monday, slamming indifference to the plight of women and children in confl ict.

Congolese gynaecologist Mukwege, whose work has made him a global expert on rape in confl ict, and Yazidi activist Murad, a survivor of IS sexual slavery, both said victims were sometimes valued less than commercial interests.

In an emotional ceremony in Oslo, which saw the laureates cheered and given standing ovations, Mukwege and Murad called on the world to do more. “If there is a war to be waged, it is the war against the indifference which is eating away at our societies,” Mukwege said. His Panzi hospital in the Democratic Republic of Congo’s war-torn east has treated the wounds of tens of thousands of women and children after sexual assaults that have become a “new reality” in the country.

The 63-year-old said the violence “shames our common humanity”. In her speech, Murad, 25, implored the global community to help free hundreds of women and girls still held by jihadists, saying the world must protect her people and other vulnerable communities. “It is my view that all victims deserve a safe haven until justice is done for them,” she said.

Nobel committee chairwoman Berit Reiss-Andersen said the pair had received the Peace Prize “for their efforts to end the use of sexual violence as a weapon of war and armed confl ict”. She described them as “two of the strongest voices in the world today”. They received the Peace Prize gold medals, diplomas and nine million Swedish Krona (880,000 euros, a million dollars), which they will share. (AFP)

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