NobelPeace Prize winner Nadia Murad has announced that she will donate her $500,000 (€432,650) winnings to helping survivors of sex crimes.
The 2018 Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to Murad and Denis Mukwege for their efforts to end sexual violence as a weapon of war and armed conflict, on October 5th.
The Norwegian Nobel Committee awarded the prize to Muwege, a gynaecologist and to Murad, a former ISIS sex slave.
Muwege treats victims of sexual assault in the Democratic Republic of Congo. His team have focused on helping those affected by this war crime, mainly those affected by the current civil war that has claimed the lives of up to 6 million Congolese.
He established the Panzi Hospital in 1999, mainly made of tents. However, it has since become a major health facility in DR Congo and treats more than 3,500 women a year.
In a country labelled the ‘Rape Capital of the World’, Muwege has acted on his principle that “justice is everyone’s business” and now serves a population 400,000 including patients from neighbouring countries.
Mukwege said that he discovered he was awarded the prize while he was working in the operating in the hospital. “I can see in the face of many women how they are happy to be recognised and this is really so touching,” he said.
While Mukwege has treated victims, the co-recipient of the prize, Nadia Murad was one of those victims.
Murad was kidnapped by ISIS militants when they came to her village Kocho in Iraqi Kurdistan made up of Yazidis. Her mother and brothers were all executed, but many unmarried women were taken as sex slaves. As a Yazidi, ISIS rule permits her slavery and the abuse she endured.
After three months she managed to escape to Mosul where a Muslim family helped her receive fake Islamic identification to leave ISIS territory.
She has since spoken at the UN Security Council, published a New York Times bestselling memoir titled “The Last Girl” and has received numerous other awards.
In 2016 she was named he UN’s first Goodwill Ambassador for the Dignity of Survivors of Human Trafficking.
“I’m committed to being the voice of those who have no voice,” she said in a speech at the National Press Club. She also urged governments to take responsibility and fight sexual violence, adding that justice must be served to criminals and victims.
The Nobel Committee said: “A more peaceful world can only be achieved if women and their fundamental rights and security are recognised and protected in war.”
Image Credit: AFP