On the 5th of October, Dr. Denis Mukwege, Congolese gynaecologist and member of the WPL Global Advisory Board, was awarded the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize, together with Iraqi Yazidi human rights activist Nadia Murad. The Norwegian Nobel Committee has decided to award them the prize for their efforts to end the use of sexual violence against women as a weapon of war and armed conflict.
Mukwege has devoted his life to helping victims of sexual assault in the Democratic Republic of Congo, founding the Panzi Hospital, a structure specialised in operating surgery on patients who have been sexually abused. His basic principle is that “justice is everyone’s business.” Since 1999, Denis Mukwege and his staff have treated thousands of women who have experienced sexual violence and rape during war. Most of these abuses have taken place during the long civil war that has killed more than six million people in Congo.
The Nobel Committee defined his work as “the foremost, most unifying symbol, both nationally and internationally, of the struggle to end sexual violence in war”. He had previously been honoured with the UN Human Rights Award in 2008 and the European Parliament’s Sakharov Prize in 2014.
Denis Mukwege, as a member of the WPL Advisory Board, has endorsed WPL’s mission and, together with the other members of the board, he oversees and provides guidance for WPL initiatives. As he reminds us, “women Parliamentarians can help to draw a red line when it comes to using rape as a tool of war.”
Watch Dr. Mukwege’s speech on “The Mother of Female Empowerment: Peace, Security and the Integrity of the Person” during the WPL Summit 2013 at the European Parliament: