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Millennium Post

Their 'Noble' efforts

Their Noble efforts

The Nobel Peace Prize 2018 was recently conferred on two extraordinary individuals who have decided to stand firm even in the face of extreme hostility. The 25-year-old Nadia Murad hails from Northern Iraq and belongs to the minority Yazidi community, whose population was around 4,00,000 before the ISIS extremists invaded their settlements in the Sinjar district in the summer of 2014. In her book 'The Last Girl' published in 2017, she narrates the harrowing details of how the extremists killed seven of her family members in a day in front of her eyes and took her away as she was young enough to be traded as a sex slave. The extremists first converted her to Islam and then raped and tortured her as a sex slave along with thousands of other Yazidi girls. As per a report by the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), 130,000 Yazidis were forced to flee to Kurdish areas. Almost a lakh people took refuge in the Sinjar mountains where at least 1,700 people died due to a lack of water, food, shade, and medical facilities. More than 6,500 Yazidi women were kidnapped and traded as sex slaves in different markets that flourished all across Iraq and other ISIS-controlled areas in the neighbouring countries. At least 2,500 of these women are still missing, the report says. Murad was lucky enough to have escaped from her captors after three months of the ordeal during which she was raped and humiliated by scores of militants who would pass on the girls to another set of militants for a price every other day. After her release from the ISIS captivity, she decided to talk about her ordeal and tell the world what all happened to her and other girls in the ISIS captivity. Her revelations made the world aware of what was going on in Iraq and other places where ISIS was having a field day in the aftermath of the US invasion and collapse of government machinery. The Council of Europe awarded her with Václav Havel human rights prize in 2016 for running a campaign to protect Yazidi people still trapped in the ISIS captivity. She was conferred with the Nobel Peace Prize 2018 for her courage and relentless fight against sexual violence as a weapon of war. On Friday, she met French President Emmanuel Macron and he pledged to take in 100 Yazidi women who have suffered at the hands of ISIS and are living in Internally Displaced Person camps in Iraq. Macron said 20 of the refugees would settle in France by the end of the year, while the remaining 80 would arrive in 2019.

The other Nobel Peace Prize winner for this year Dr Denis Mukwege is a doctor who helps victims of sexual violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo. "Denis Mukwege is the helper who has devoted his life to defending these victims," the Norwegian Nobel Committee said. Mukwege heads the Panzi Hospital in the eastern Congo city of Bukavu visited by thousands of women every year, many of them requiring surgery for sexual violence. A winner of the United Nations Human Rights Prize and the European Parliament's Sakharov Prize, Mukwege dedicated his Nobel award to all women affected by rape and sexual violence. Besides performing surgery on women raped by armed men, he has also been campaigning to highlight their plight. He also provides HIV/AIDS treatment to these women. The Second Congo War, which killed more than five million people, ended in 2003 but the violence remains rampant. After he denounced mass rape in the country and impunity for it in a speech at the United Nations in 2012, Mukwege's home was invaded by armed men who shot at him. He narrowly escaped as he lied down on the floor when the militants fired at him while his bodyguard was killed in the incident. Mukwege was in the operation room when he was told that he has won the Nobel Peace Prize for his work. Reacting to the news, he said, "Dear survivors all over the world, I would like to tell you that through this prize, the world is listening to you and rejects indifference, the world refuses to stand idly by in the face of your suffering." A member of Congo's ruling PPRD party Wivine Moleka said Mukwege was more than just a doctor. "He is a humanist who has taken the pain of women into consideration; pain in their flesh and in their soul. The prize sends a strong signal to everyone about these women who are raped every day," she said. Mukwege founded the Panzi Hospital in 1991 and since its foundation, the hospital has treated 85,000 patients with complex gynaecological damage. Sixty per cent of the patients were victims of sexualised violence.

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