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Nobel Peace Prize to honour champions of struggle against sexual violence

AFP  |  Oslo 

Champions of the fight against sexual violence, Congolese doctor and activist Nadia Murad, a former captive of jihadists, will on Monday receive the Nobel Peace Prize, which this year highlights rape as a weapon of war.

Murad, 25, and Mukwege, 63, will be jointly presented with the prize in Oslo, after they were announced as winners by the in October for "for their efforts to end the use of sexual violence as a weapon of war and armed conflict".

Mukwege, called "Doctor Miracle" for his surgical skills, has spent twenty years treating the horrendous wounds and intense emotional trauma inflicted on women in DR Congo's war-torn east.

He has been scathing about the world's lacklustre response to sexual violence in conflict.

"We have been able to draw a red line against chemical weapons, biological weapons and nuclear arms," he told AFP in 2016.

"Today we must also draw a red line against rape as a weapon of war."

Fellow laureate has become a for the rights of since surviving the horrors of captivity under the Islamic State group, who stormed across swathes of and targeting her Kurdish-speaking community.

Captured in 2014, she suffered forced marriage, beatings and gang-rape before she was able to escape.

The pair have dedicated their prize to the hundreds of thousands of women around the world who have endured sexual violence.

"is the helper who has devoted his life to defending these victims.

is the witness who tells of the abuses perpetrated against herself and others," said Nobel committee Berit Reiss-Andersen, when the award was announced on October 5.

"Each of them in their own way has helped to give greater visibility to war-time sexual violence, so that the perpetrators can be held accountable for their actions." -

The co-laureates have come to represent the struggle against a global scourge that goes well beyond any single conflict, as the #MeToo movement has shown.

Mukwege has treated tens of thousands of victims -- women, children and even babies just a few months old -- at which he founded in 1999 in DR Congo's South Kivu.

was among thousands of women and girls who were abducted, raped and brutalised by jihadists during their assault in 2014.

Older women and men faced summary execution during the IS assault, which the has described as a possible genocide. Her mother and six of her brothers were killed.

Murad is now UN for victims of human trafficking and is at the forefront of efforts to protect the community -- and find justice for the victims of the jihadists, a mission she has embarked on with

In early December a UN team authorised to investigate the massacre of the Yazidi minority said it would finally start fieldwork next year.

More than 6,800 were kidnapped, of which 4,300 either escaped or were bought as slaves, while 2,500 remain missing, according to a recent report from the (FIDH).

"For me, justice doesn't mean killing all of the members who committed these crimes against us," Murad said in October in Washington, using an Arabic acronym for IS.

"Justice for me is taking members to a court of law and seeing them in court admitting to the crimes they committed against and being punished for those crimes specifically."

The choice to highlight campaigns against sexual violence comes as a rape scandal has shredded the reputation of the and led to the postponement of this year's Nobel Literature Prize.

A court on December 3 found the 72-year-old husband of a member guilty on appeal of two counts of rape, jailing him for two-and-a-half years.

The -- a gold medal, diploma and nine million Swedish Krona (880,000 euros, a million dollars) -- will be officially presented in a ceremony in City Hall at 1200 GMT on Monday.

Other Nobel prizes are set to be handed out on the same day in Stockholm, except the literature prize, which is postponed until 2019.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Fri, December 07 2018. 12:20 IST