Members of the Norwegian Nobel Peace Prize committee award laureates Yezidi activist Nadia Murad and Congolese doctor Denis Mukwege on December 9, 2018. File photo: AP video
OSLO, Norway — Yezidi activist Nadia Murad and Congolese Dr. Denis Mukwege received the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize for their "efforts to end the use of sexual violence as a weapon of war" on Wednesday.
“Today is a special day for me. It’s day when good prevails over evil,” Murad said in her acceptance speech. “I hope today becomes the start of a new phase and peace and I will ask the world to protect all women and children.”
Murad, 25, was born in the southern village of Kocho in the Shingal region. In 2014, she was kidnapped by ISIS and held captive prior to escaping through the Kurdistan Region of Iraq.
"I was a village girl living in Kocho, unaware of all conflict and how humans could kill each other in these brutal ways. My dream was to have a beauty salon in Shingal," she said. "Daesh tried to annihilate an entire community in Iraq by enslaving their women and killing their men."
Nadia Murad, a native of Kocho in Shingal, and Denis Mukwege a doctor from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, receive their Nobel Prize medals and diplomas on December 10, 2018, in Oslo, Norway. Photo: AP video
Over the past four years, she has been an activist for Yezidis as well as all women and children who have been victims of genocide, mass atrocities, and human trafficking.
"But in the massacre that happened I lost my mother and six of my friends. Our lives changed overnight in a way that we will never forget. The fabric of the Yezidi community was destroyed," added Murad.
Mukwege, 63, works as a gynecologist at the Panzi Hospital in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Because of death threats, he has lived at the hospital since 2012. He has treated more than 85,000 women and girls who have endured gynecological trauma endured during in conflict.
"If there is a war to be waged, it is the war against the indifference which is eating away at our societies," he said in his acceptance speech, calling on the world not to turn a blind eye to sexual violence in war.
"This award obligates Denis Mukwege and Nadia Murad to continue their vital work, but this work obligates us to stand side by side with them to end wartime sexual violence," said Berit Reiss-Andersen, the chair of the Norwegian Nobel Committee the presenter at the ceremony.
Murad: Yezidis can’t return to Shingal until they get justice
Mukwege: Fight to end rape in war must begin in peacetime
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