Sunday, October 7, 2018

2018 Nobel Peace Prize

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Environmental & Science Education
Edward Hessler

“The said interest shall be divided into five equal parts, which shall be apportioned as follows: /- - -/ one part to the person who shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses.” -- Alfred Nobel's will

Peace was the fifth and final prize area that Nobel mentioned in Alfred Nobel's will. The Nobel Peace Prize is awarded by a committee elected by the Stortinget (Norwegian Parliament). 

The Norwegian Nobel Committee has awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for 2018 to Denis Mukwege and Nadia Murad for their efforts to end the use of sexual violence as a weapon of war and armed conflict. It was in 2008 that the UN Security Council adopted Resolution 1820, which determined that the use of sexual violence as a weapon of war and armed conflict constitutes both a war crime and a threat to international peace and security. 

The Nobel Peace Prize website notes that "Both laureates have made a crucial contribution to focusing attention on, and combating, such war crimes. 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 to give greater visibility to war-time sexual violence, so that the perpetrators can be held accountable for their actions."
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Dr.Mukwege practices gynecology in Panzi Hospital which he founded in 1999 with an eye on maternal care in a war-torn country. However, his first patient was a survivor of traumatic rape and this changed the mission of the hospital. The work of hospital is organized around a five-pillar holistic healing model known as the Panzi Model. It includes physical care, psychosocial support, community reintegration services, legal assistance, and education and advocacy.

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Nadia Murad is the founder of Nadia's Initiative. The website reports that "she is a 24-year-old Yazidi woman who advocates on behalf of her community and survivors of genocide. She was among the thousands of Yazidi women who were abducted and enslaved by the self-proclaimed Islamic State (ISIS). She was repeatedly raped and spent approximately one month in captivity. This includes an initial period when Nadia’s village was under siege by ISIS; a second period when she was held as a sexual slave at different ISIS sites; and a final short period in which Nadia was in hiding in a family home in the ISIS-controlled territory until she was able to escape. Nadia suffered the loss of six of her nine brothers who were slaughtered by ISIS in the Kocho massacre. Thousands of Yazidi men and older Yazidi women were murdered including Nadia's mother."

The CNN report about the awards provides additional information. Eve Enslet, playwright and founder of V-Day wrote a lovely essay about Mukwege for the Guardian.

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