CONGO: Congolese Nobel Peace Prize winner dedicates award to ‘women harmed by conflicts’
The Congolese gynecologist Denis Mukwege who won the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize in October has dedicated his award to women all over the world harmed by conflicts.
Mukwege is being celebrated for his work with survivors of sexual violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo alongside a Yazidi human rights activist, Nadia Murad.
“I dedicate this Nobel Prize to women of all countries in the world, harmed by conflict and facing violence every day. For almost 20 years I have witnessed war crimes committed against women, girls, and even baby girls not only in my country, the Democratic Republic of Congo, but also in many other countries. To the survivors from all over the world, I would like to tell you that through this prize, the world is listening to you and refusing to remain indifferent”, Mukwege said.
Mukwege founded Panzi hospital in the capital of South Kivu to offer physical and emotional treatment to hundreds of women raped in the region each year.
The number of women and girls raped in eastern D.R Congo is not known, but experts and campaigners say the scale is huge. The former United Nation’s representative on sexual violence in conflict Margot Wallstrom has called Congo the “rape capital of the world”.
“My decision to come back to Bukavu was motivated by the fact that I was determined to pursue the fight against sexual violence, which is taking place in eastern Congo. The second reason was the determination of the Congolese women, whether it’s women in the diaspora or the women of the country, the demand and their calls were too strong for me to resist”, he said
In May 2011, Mukwege received the King Baudouin International Development Prize for his work, after which he described the severity of the attacks on his patients.
In 2014, he was again honored with Sakharov prize, Europe’s top human rights award and a Hillary Rodham Clinton Award for Advancing Women in Peace and Security.
The Nobel Peace Prize worth $ 1.4 million will be presented in Oslo, Norway on December 10, the anniversary of the death of Swedish industrialist, Alfred Nobel who founded the awards in his 1895 will.
The Democratic Republic of Congo has for decades experienced war and chaos with its vast untapped mineral and oil reserves. Women are particularly vulnerable to the insecurity.