Nobel for Congolese doctor, Yazidi activist

The Korean leaders step over the demilitiarized zone during their historic meeting in April. EPA

The Korean leaders step over the demilitiarized zone during their historic meeting in April. EPA

Iraqi President Barham Salih and Parliament Speaker Mohamed al-Halbousi on Friday both praised Nadia Murad, an Iraqi-Ezidi female activist who was awarded this year's Nobel Peace Prize.

By giving the award to Nadia Murad, an Iraqi Yazidi, and Dr Denis Mukwege, from the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Nobel committee has reminded us of another stark reality: rape remains a key tool in the many wars and violent conflicts that engulf our world.

She was a witness who tells of the abuses perpetrated against herself and others, the citation said. "She has shown uncommon courage in recounting her own sufferings and speaking up on behalf of other victims", the committee said.

Born in northern Iraq in 1993 to a Yazidi family, Nadia Murad was just 19 when Islamic State militants stormed her remote village in 2014 and massacred hundreds as part of their efforts to exterminate the ancient religious minority group. Forty-five women came to us with the same story, they were all saying: "People came into my village and raped me, tortured me".

IS fighters set about killing the men, taking children captive to train them as fighters and condemning thousands of women to a life of forced labor and sexual slavery. After getting treatment in Germany, she chose to speak to the world about the horrors faced by Yazidi women, regardless of the stigma in her culture surrounding rape.

This is what the announcement of the prize had to say about Murad.

Numerous women treated by Mukwege were victims of mass rape in the central African nation that has been wracked by conflict for decades.

There, she learnt that six of her brothers and her mother had been killed.

Slight, and softly-spoken Murad has now become a global voice, campaigning for justice for her people and for the acts committed by the jihadists to be recognised internationally as genocide. She endured three months as a sex slave at the hands of IS militants.

Alessandra Velluci said "this is a cause that is very close to the United Nations and as you know we have a special representative who is also working towards this, and I'm sure that this Nobel Peace Prize will help advance the cause of ending sexual violence as a weapon of conflict". The two were honored for their work against the use of sexual violence as a weapon of war.

But choosing Kim may be a step too far for the Norwegian committee, given the UN's damning verdict on North Korea's "long-standing and ongoing systematic, widespread and gross violations of human rights".

Both honorees are the first from their countries - Congo and Iraq - to receive a Nobel Prize and will split the award, which is worth 9 million Swedish kronor ($1.01 million).

Earlier this week the Nobel prize for physics was awarded to Donna Strickland, only the third woman victor of the award and the first in 55 years.

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