Nadia Murad and Denis Mukwege awarded Nobel peace prize

Denis Mukwege and Nadia Murad (Getty)

The Nobel Peace Prize has been awarded to Denis Mukwege and Nadia Murad for their efforts to end the use of sexual violence as a weapon of war and armed conflict.

Murad is one of an estimated 3,000 Yazidi girls and women who were victims of rape and other abuses by Isis.

The committee said she ‘has shown uncommon courage in recounting her own sufferings and speaking up on behalf of other victims’.

Mukwege is regarded as the foremost, most unifying symbol, both nationally and internationally, of the struggle to end sexual violence in war and armed conflicts.

The Nobel committee confirmed during the announcement that they hadn’t actually spoken to the winners.

‘We have tried to contact the winners and we haven’t managed to get through on the phone. If they are watching this, my heartfelt congratulations,’ they said.

The committee said the laureates had been given the award because both have a made a crucial contribution to combatting such war crimes.

It said: ‘Denis Mukwege is the helper who has devoted his life to defending these victims.

‘Nadia Murad is the witness who tells of the abuses perpetrated against herself and others.

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

In August 2014, the Islamic State launched a brutal, systemic of the villages of the Singer region aimed at exterminating the Yazidi population.

Hundreds were massacred and the younger women were abducted and held as sex slaves.

While she was captive, Murad was repeatedly raped and her assaulters threatened to execute her if she did convert to their version of Islam.

Murad is just one of an estimated 3,000 Yazidi girl and women who were raped by Isis.

The committee outlined how Murad refused to accept the social codes that requited women to remain silent and ashamed of their abuses and has acted as a powerful voice to draw attention to the use of women as a weapon in war.

Mukwege is a Congolese gynecologist who founded the Panzi Hospital in Bukavu, where he specialises in the treatment of women who have been gang-raped by rebel forces.

He has spent large parts of his adult life helping the victims of sexual violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Dr. Mukwege and his staff have treated thousands of patients who have fallen victim to such assaults.

Armed men tried to kill him in 2012, forcing him to temporarily leave the country.

He has been nominated for the peace prize numerous times before.

The Norwegian Nobel Committee received nominations for 216 individuals and 115 organisations.

Only a few dozen of the nominees were known, as the committee keeps the list secret for 50 years.

Among those also put forward this year were Donald Trump, Kim Jong-un and Moon Jae-in for their work in bringing peace to the Korean peninsula. Mr Trump was nominated by 18 Republican senators.

The Syrian civilian aid group the White Helmets, Russia’s Novaya Gazeta newspaper, Edward Snowden and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees were also nominated.

Last year’s winner was the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons.

The prize is worth nine million Swedish kronor (£777,000).

Past winners who came under criticism include former US president Barack Obama, who won in 2009 after less than a year in office.