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The 2018 Nobel Peace Prize Has Been Awarded to Nadia Murad and Denis Mukwege

This year's awards are going to two people who devote their lives to stopping the use of rape as a weapon against women during war.
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The 2018 Nobel Peace Prize has been awarded to Nadia Murad and Denis Mukwege--two people who devote their lives to stopping the use of rape as a weapon against women during war.

The results of the coveted and historical honor were announced at a ceremony in Oslo, Norway on Friday morning (5 October).


The joint winners were revealed as Murad, a former Yazidi sex slave who was held captive by Isis before escaping, and Mukwege—a gynecologist who, along with his staff, have treated thousands of women in the Democratic Republic of Congo who were raped during the country's conflict.


Nadia testifying to the U.S. Senate in 2015.

The Nobel Peace Prize has been in existence ever since Alfred Nobel died in 1895. The Swedish businessman left behind a huge fortune which he wanted to fund five different prizes in physics, chemistry, medicine, literature and peace. The peace prize, he said, should go to "the person who shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between the nations and the abolition or reduction of standing armies and the formation of spreading peace congresses".

The first award was given in 1901 and previous winners have included Barack Obama (2009), the UN (2001), the Dalai Lama (1989), Mother Teresa (1979) and Malala Yousafzai, who became the youngest person to win the prize at the age of 17 in 2014.


Malala receiving the Nobel Peace Prize in 2014.

According to The Guardian, the Nobel Prize committee has been unable to contact either of this year's winners but said if they were watching the ceremony, they extend their "heartfelt congratulations".

Here's what there is to know about the two winners:

NADIA MURAD

The Nobel committee said the 25-year-old Iraqi is "the witness who tells of the abuses perpetrated against herself and others" and, in turn, helps to give greater visibility to the often glossed-over reality that women are increasingly raped and abused during war.

Nadia belonged to the Yazidi minority, a Kurdish religious group, in northern Iraq who were persecuted by Isis in 2014. Many Yazidi men were murdered while women and girls were rounded up, abducted and held as sex slaves.

In 2015, Nadia gave a speech at the UN where she told how she had been gang-raped, tortured, sold and re-sold and abused by her Isis captors. Three months later, she managed to escape to Germany and has since focused her life on telling the world her story. She was named the UN's first Goodwill Ambassador for the Dignity of Survivors of Human Trafficking at the age of 23.


At the UN with Amal Clooney

Since then, she has continued to campaign for victims of sexual violence and trafficking and her case has been taken up by human rights lawyer Amal Clooney, who is calling for an investigation into Isis for genocide crimes against the Yazidi community.

Just two months ago, Nadia announced she was engaged to fellow Yazidi activist Abid Shamdeen.


DENIS MUKWEGE

Mukwege, 63, is a Congolese surgeon, gynaecologist and women's rights activist, who is the founder of a gynaecological and maternal health hospital in the city of Bukavu. The Democratic Republic of Congo has been plagued by war for years (including the civil war of 1997-2003) and the BBC reports the war has claimed up to six million lives.

The Nobel Committee said Mukwege gets the prize for devoting his life to defending victims of sexual violence.


Denis Mukwege with staff and patients in his hospital in 2007

According to his website, he and his staff have helped more than 40,000 survivors of sexual assault, including treating severe internal wounds caused by gang-rape. His hospital also provides legal and psychological support to victims of rape.

As well as treating patients, Mukwege has repeatedly criticized the Congolese government and other countries for not doing enough to stop sexual violence during war. He has since set up the Mukwege Foundation working to stop the issue across the world.

From: Cosmopolitan UK

*This story originally appeared on Townandcountrymag.com
*Minor edits have been made by the Townandcountry.ph editors

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