Nobel Peace Prize: Stronger efforts needed to prevent sexual violence in war

Published 09. Dec 2018|Edited 06. Dec 2018
Statement by NRC Secretary General Jan Egeland on the occasion of the Nobel Peace Prize award to Nadia Murad and Denis Mukwege:

“This long overdue prize must be the beginning of a strengthened effort to protect women and men against sexual violence and abuse in wars and to ensure that those who commit what is pure war crimes are held accountable. In too many conflicts, sexual violence is being used as a barbaric weapon of war, in breach of international laws and with the victims of these crimes suffering in silence.

Nadia Murad is a truly inspiring, heroic woman, who has given an important voice to the thousands Yazidi victims of sexual violence and genocide and many more victims of atrocities worldwide.

The prize is also a very timely reminder that hundreds of thousands of victims of the Islamic State group in Iraq are still languishing homeless, with no justice. One year since the Iraqi government announced victory over Islamic State group, Ms Murad’s city, Sinjar, remains largely uninhabitable. More than 200,000 people from Sinjar, mostly Yazidis, remain displaced in Iraq and abroad. Across all of Iraq, some 1.8 million people are still internally displaced. For this year’s Nobel Peace Prize to be really meaningful, the international community and the Iraqi government need to listen to Ms Murad and right the historical wrongs by giving all the victims of mass atrocities access to justice.

Denis Mukwege has for a long time been my personal favourite for the prize. With a danger to his own life, he has not only helped victims of sexual violence and abuse at the well-known Panzi hospital in DR Congo, but has also tirelessly advocated for change, to prevent more people from undergoing the same horrors.”


Note to editors:

Nadia Murad and Denis Mukwege will be awarded the Peace Prize at a ceremony in Oslo City Hall Monday 10 December. For more information, see

Egeland first nominated Denis Mukwege for the Peace Prize in 2008 after several visits to the Panzi Hospital, which Dr. Mukwege created for survivors of rape in Eastern Congo.

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