Nobel laureates Denis Mukwege and Nadia Murad have called on the world to protect victims of wartime sexual violence as they angrily criticised indifference to the plight of women and children in conflict in their peace prize acceptance speeches.
Mukwege, a Congolese gynaecologist and world expert on rape in conflict, and Murad, a Yazidi activist and survivor of Isis sexual slavery, said victims were sometimes valued less than commercial interests.
In a ceremony in which the laureates were cheered and given standing ovations, Mukwege and Murad called on the world to do more.
“If there is a war to be waged, it is the war against the indifference which is eating away at our societies,” Mukwege said at the ceremony in Oslo. His Panzi hospital in the Democratic Republic of Congo’s war-torn east has treated the wounds of tens of thousands of women and children for sexual assaults that have become a “new reality” in the country. He said the violence “shames our common humanity”.
In her speech, Murad implored the global community to help to free hundreds of women and girls still held by jihadis, saying the world must protect her people and other vulnerable communities.
“It is my view that all victims deserve a safe haven until justice is done for them,” she said, pausing briefly, seemingly overcome with emotion.