Nobel Peace Prize Laureates Nadia Murad (R) and Denis Mukwege attend a press conference at the European Council in Brussels, November 26, 2018. Photo: Emmanuel Dunand / AFP
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – Nobel Peace Prize laureates Nadia Murad and Dr Denis Mukwege have been handed an additional €5 million ($5.6 million) to continue their fight against sexual violence as a weapon of war, the European Commission (EC) announced Monday.
The European Union plans to strengthen its stabilization and reconstruction efforts in Sinjar – known to Kurds as Shingal – through a €1 million ($1.1 million) contribution to Murad’s ‘Sinjar Action Fund’ initiative, the EC said in a statement.
ISIS attacked Shingal in 2014, killing and kidnapping thousands of Yezidis – a religious minority in northern Iraq – displacing thousands more to IDP camps in the Kurdistan Region.
The funding will specifically focus on developing areas liberated from ISIS and supporting the needs of displaced populations, vulnerable groups, and local communities, the EC said.
“This initiative for the reconstruction of Sinjar will create infrastructure, schools, hospitals, and encourage the return of displaced populations to their homeland,” the statement added.
A further €4 million will support Dr Mukwege’s work
helping victims of sexual violence and women suffering from gynecological conditions at the Panzi Hospital in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
Murad, who herself survived the 2014 ISIS genocide, was jointly awarded
the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize with Dr Mukwege for their work highlighting and combatting sexual violence as a weapon of war.
“As the European Union, we admire the immense courage and tireless work of Nadia Murad and Dr Denis Mukwege, who often put their own lives at risk,” said Federica Mogherini, the EU’s high representative for foreign affairs, after meeting the Nobel laurites in Brussels on Monday.
“We have a duty to support their work and all the people they represent, as we are doing, and this is also the best way to celebrate the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women.”
“This is how the European Union can help put an end to sexual violence, once and for all, everywhere in the world,” said Commissioner Neven Mimica.
The European Union has committed approximately €310 million to Iraq’s development since 2014. Since the beginning of the crisis, more than 1.7 million displaced people have returned to their homes. Around 2 million remain displaced.