OSLO, Norway (The Guardian) — The Nobel laureates Denis Mukwege and Nadia Murad have called on the world to protect victims of wartime sexual violence as they angrily criticized indifference to the plight of women and children in conflict in their peace prize acceptance speeches.
The gold medals were presented to Mukwege, a Congolese gynecologist who has spent his career treating tens of thousands of rape survivors, and Murad, a Yazidi woman from Iraq who was kidnapped and kept as a slave by an Isis judge, raped and beaten every day, before she escaped and became a human rights campaigner.
Both laureates said on Monday, December 10, the reason atrocities such as those they had witnessed still occurred in the 21st century was because perpetrators were not brought to justice.
Women in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) have been prey to systematic rape since 1998, perpetrated mainly by the rebel groups that have kept the east in a permanent state of instability.
After Mukwege was named the joint winner of the prize in October, he called on the DRC’s “illegal and illegitimate” government to quit, accusing it of perpetuating the violence and failing to protect women. Elections are set to be held later this month.
In his acceptance speech, Mukwege emphasized that the continuing violence was caused by “the absence of the rule of law, the collapse of traditional values and the reign of impunity, particularly for those in power,” all of which were linked to “gross mismanagement” by the government.