2 win Nobel Peace Prize
In Congo, they call him “Doctor Miracle” for his surgical skill and dedication in helping women overcome the injuries and trauma of sexual abuse and rape. Denis Mukwege is a crusading gynaecologist who has spent more than two decades treating appalling injuries inflicted on women in DRC. He has also emerged as an excoriating critic of President Joseph Kabila, set to be replaced in the pivotal December 23 elections. He set up the Panzi hospital in 2015 in his war-weary native province of South Kivu, part of an eastern region riven by a conflict involving government forces and various rebel groups. “A man ceases to be a man when he does not know how to give love and when he no longer knows how to give hope to others,” Mukwege told his staff in 2015. Women abuse critic A father of five, the tireless 63-year-old is an outspoken critic of the abuse of women in war and has repeatedly accused the world of failing to act. He had been repeatedly nominated for his work with gang rape victims from the conflicts that have ravaged his homeland. His work was the subject of an acclaimed 2015 film titled: “The Man Who Mends Women.” “Denis Mukwege is the foremost, most unifying symbol, both nationally and internationally, of the struggle to end sexual violence in war and armed conflicts,” Nobel committee chairwoman Berit Reiss-Andersen said when the award was announced in October. “His basic principle is that ‘justice is everyone’s business’.” Mukwege has dedicated the prize to women victims of conflict and violence around the world. “For nearly 20 years I have witnessed war crimes committed against women, young girls, tots and babies,” Mukwege said, adding that he had operated on some 50,000 women victims of rape and sexual abuse. Taken hostage Nadia Murad survived the worst of the cruelties and brutality inflicted on her people, the Yazidis of Iraq, by the Islamic State group before becoming a global champion of their cause and a Nobel Peace Prize laureate. Murad, who was taken hostage by IS in 2014 but escaped, is the first Iraqi to receive the prestigious award. “For me, justice doesn’t mean killing all of the Daesh members who committed these crimes against us,” she said shortly after winning, using an Arabic acronym for IS. “Justice for me is taking Daesh members to a court of law and seeing them in court admitting to the crimes they committed against Yazidis and being punished for those crimes specifically,” she said. The slender, dark-haired woman once lived a quiet life in her village in the mountainous Yazidi stronghold of Sinjar in northern Iraq, close to the border with Syria. But when the jihadists stormed across swathes of the two countries in August 2014, her nightmare began. IS fighters swept into her village, Kojo, killing the men, taking children captive to train them as fighters and condemning thousands of women to a life of forced labour and sexual slavery. Murad was taken by force to Mosul, the Iraqi “capital” of the IS’s self-declared caliphate, where she was held captive and repeatedly gang-raped, tortured and beaten. IS fighters wanted “to take our honor, but they lost their honor”, said Murad, now a United Nations goodwill ambassador for survivors of human trafficking. Seen as heretics For the jihadists, with their ultra-strict interpretation of Islam, the Yazidis are seen as heretics. The Kurdish-speaking community follows an ancient religion, revering a single God and the “leader of the angels,” represented by a peacock. Like thousands of Yazidis, Murad was sold and forcibly married to a jihadist, beaten and -- in contrast to the official wives of IS leaders -- forced to wear makeup and tight clothes, an experience she later related in front of the United Nations Security Council.