The Noble Peace Prize 2018 has been awarded to Denis Mukwege and Nadia Murad. The Norwegian Nobel Committee made the announcement on Friday. “Both laureates have made a crucial contribution to focusing attention on, and combating, such war crimes,” it said in its citation.
Talking about Dr Mukwege, a gynaecologist treating victims of sexual violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the committee said, “This year’s Peace Laureate Denis Mukwege has repeatedly condemned impunity for mass rape and criticised the Congolese government and other countries for not doing enough to stop the use of sexual violence against women as a strategy and weapon of war. The 2018 Peace Laureate is the foremost, most unifying symbol, both nationally and internationally, of the struggle to end sexual violence in war and armed conflicts.”
Nadia Murad is a victim of sexual assault herself and was raped by Islamic State fighters in Mosul in 2014. “Nadia Murad is the witness who tells of the abuses perpetrated against herself and others. She has shown uncommon courage in recounting her own sufferings and speaking up on behalf of other victims,” the committee said. She is an advocate for the Yazidi minority in Iraq and for refugee and women’s rights in general. In 2016, at the age of 23, Murad was named the UN’s first Goodwill Ambassador for the Dignity of Survivors of Human Trafficking. Murad, 25, is the second youngest Nobel peace prize laureate after Malala Yousafzai, who was 17 when she won in 2014.
The prize will be presented in Oslo on December 10, the anniversary of the death of Swedish industrialist Alfred Nobel, who founded the awards in his 1895 will. The prize is worth nine million Swedish kronor ($1.01 million).
This time, the winner was chosen from among 331 nominations (216 individuals and 115 organisations) which the second highest number of nominees ever, next only to the 376 nominated in 2016. Few of the nominations that were put forward this year were Syrian civilian aid group White Helmets, Russia’s Novaya Gazeta newspaper, Edward Snowden and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees.
Today’s announcement marks the 100th peace prize, with 133 winners (106 individuals and 27 organisations). Of the 106 individual Laureates, 17 have been women. Last year, the Peace Prize was awarded to The International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN).
The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 2018 was awarded jointly to James P Allison and Tasuku Honjo “for their discovery of cancer therapy by inhibition of negative immune regulation.” Nobel Prize for Physics, this year, was won by Arthur Ashkin as well as Gerard Mourou and Donna Strickland for their groundbreaking discoveries in ‘laser physics’. Strickland became the third female Nobel laureate in physics. The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2018, meanwhile, was divided. One half awarded to Frances H. Arnold “for the directed evolution of enzymes”, while the other half was jointly awarded to George P. Smith and Sir Gregory P. Winter “for the phage display of peptides and antibodies.”
Past winners of the prize include names such as the International Committee of the Red Cross, Martin Luther King Jr, Mother Theresa and Nelson Mandela. Indian children’s rights activist Kailash Satyarthi won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2014. Past winners who came under criticism include former US President Barack Obama, who won in 2009 after less than a year in office, Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi who has been accused of genocide of the Rohingya.