Nobel Peace Prize goes to two anti-rape activists

In all the fracas about the science Nobels, I completely forgot about the Peace Prize, which, unlike the Economics Prize, is a genuine Nobel Prize. And this year it went two two people, Denis Mukwege, a gynecologist from the Congo, and Nadia Murad, a Yazidi Kurdish activist who was held for several months by ISIS. Both of them have worked tirelessly against the employment of rape as a tool of war. Here’s the citation from the Nobel press release:

The Norwegian Nobel Committee has decided to award 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. 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.

The physician Denis Mukwege has spent large parts of his adult life helping the victims of sexual violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Since the Panzi Hospital was established in Bukavu in 1999, Dr. Mukwege and his staff have treated thousands of patients who have fallen victim to such assaults. Most of the abuses have been committed in the context of a long-lasting civil war that has cost the lives of more than six million Congolese.

. . . Nadia Murad is herself a victim of war crimes. She refused to accept the social codes that require women to remain silent and ashamed of the abuses to which they have been subjected. She has shown uncommon courage in recounting her own sufferings and speaking up on behalf of other victims.

. . . After a three-month nightmare Nadia Murad managed to flee. Following her escape, she chose to speak openly about what she had suffered. In 2016, at the age of just 23, she was named the UN’s first Goodwill Ambassador for the Dignity of Survivors of Human Trafficking.

As the Committee noted, it’s the tenth anniversary of UN Resolution 1820, which deemed sexual violence as a tool of conflict to be a war crime. That, and the rising awareness of sexual violence in peacetime, makes this an especially appropriate award. (Note as well that this year’s Literature Nobel wasn’t awarded because of allegations of sexual abuse against someone associated with the Swedish Academy).

And here are the winners; kudos to them:

Denis Mukwege

Nadia Murad


  1. David Heddle
    Posted October 5, 2018 at 9:26 am | Permalink

    Sometimes humanity surprises me with its…humanity. The Peace Prize occasionally embarrasses itself. Not this year.

  2. David Heddle
    Posted October 5, 2018 at 9:47 am | Permalink

    Sometimes humanity surprises me with its…humanity. The Peace Prize occasionally embarrasses itself. Not this year.

  3. Nicolaas Stempels
    Posted October 5, 2018 at 10:09 am | Permalink

    I’m not sure rape in conflict situations is always a ‘tool’, I doubt that, but it definitely is virtually always rife in those situations.
    Ms Murad and Mr Mukwege are definitely worthy recipients indeed. Courageous, empathic and not giving up. As you say: Kudos to them.

    • Michael Fisher
      Posted October 5, 2018 at 12:50 pm | Permalink

      I don’t see anyone named in the OP [or the OP] making the claim that it always is.

      • Nicolaas Stempels
        Posted October 5, 2018 at 9:37 pm | Permalink

        You are right

  4. Blue
    Posted October 5, 2018 at 10:23 am | Permalink

    Thank YOU, Dr Stempels: f i n a l l y with
    over an hour out upon the posting of this matter
    there is a comment. Upon THE most prestigious
    Nobel Prize awarded. YOURS ! +10


    • Nicolaas Stempels
      Posted October 5, 2018 at 11:16 am | Permalink

      Well, if any credit is due (apart from the laureates themselves that is)’ it is our host, who lauded this -indeed great- choice.

  5. RPGNo1
    Posted October 5, 2018 at 12:53 pm | Permalink

    Denis Mukwege and Nadia Murad are truly worthy recipients of the Nobel Peace Prize.

  6. Adam M.
    Posted October 5, 2018 at 2:53 pm | Permalink

    I’ve found it hard to put much stock in the Nobel Peace Prize after they awarded it to Obama for, as far as I can tell, simply not being George Bush.

    But these two recipients seem worthy enough.

    • Nicolaas Stempels
      Posted October 6, 2018 at 8:19 am | Permalink

      I think they awarded it to Mr Obama as encouragement for his (failed) undertaking to withdraw from Afghanistan and Iraq.
      Nobel Peace prizes are often intended as encouragement.

  7. Damien
    Posted October 5, 2018 at 3:27 pm | Permalink

    This is clearly discarding our cultural heritage of rape culture !

  8. Damien
    Posted October 5, 2018 at 3:28 pm | Permalink

    At least we still have Kavanaugh.

    • Jenny Haniver
      Posted October 5, 2018 at 4:33 pm | Permalink

      Please see my comment below in response to both of your comments.

  9. Diane G
    Posted October 5, 2018 at 4:08 pm | Permalink

    I hope this makes a difference…

    • Jenny Haniver
      Posted October 5, 2018 at 4:32 pm | Permalink

      Yes, I hope so, too. I listened to brief clips of both recipients speaking about their experiences and work, and was profoundly humbled.

      Damien’s uncalled for levity is deeply offensive. A veritable champion of rape, he is.

      • Damien
        Posted October 5, 2018 at 4:54 pm | Permalink


        I’m a champion !!!

        • Blue
          Posted October 5, 2018 at 9:39 pm | Permalink

          Aaaah, okay, Mr Damien, you are:
          one or more of any of these four pages’ worth
          of the definitions for you as “champion” =

          Congratulations upon your victory at trying to trash
          the solemn nature for w h y these two people
          within this post of Dr Coyne’s are
          the .actual. winners, the .true. champions.


          • Damien
            Posted October 6, 2018 at 5:01 am | Permalink

            Yeah… I know they are the real champions.

            I wanted to believe it for a second, know what it feels like.

          • Nicolaas Stempels
            Posted October 6, 2018 at 8:22 am | Permalink

            At first I thought Damien’s comments were clearly meant sarcastically, but now I’m not so sure anymore.

            • Damien
              Posted October 6, 2018 at 11:22 am | Permalink

              Apparently I must dispel all ambiguity.

              There probably is a cultural mismatch between us.

              I was of course being ironic, as, I imagine, most readers understood.

              How did I hint at it ?

              Well, think of it that way : who on this forum would see Kavanaugh as some sort of protecting figure ?

              Absolutely nobody.

              (Test : signal it your hand if I am wrong and you like Kavanaugh.)

              • Damien
                Posted October 6, 2018 at 11:23 am | Permalink

                Oops, I meant “signal it”, the word “hand” comes from the fact I had previously written “raise your hand”.

              • Damien
                Posted October 6, 2018 at 6:22 pm | Permalink


                Sincere apologies to everyone.

                Apparently, it is possible to find a supporter of Kavanaugh on whyevolutionistrue.

                I stand corrected.

                Sorry I gave you the wrong idea. It amazes me that someone would read this blog and find Kavanaugh’s nomination a good thing.

                I thought “At least we still have Kavanaugh.” was an enormous giveaway, an enormous joke.

                My apologies go in particular to Jenny Haniver and Nicolaas Stempels, but also to everyone who thought like them and did not write it explicitly.

                Geez, what a mindfuck !

              • Diane G
                Posted October 6, 2018 at 8:27 pm | Permalink

                Damien, FWIW, I originally took your comments as fine black humor, and still do. The irony of these particular people winning the Peace Prize compared to the zoo that has been the Kavanaugh debacle is hard to miss.

              • Damien
                Posted October 7, 2018 at 3:09 am | Permalink

                Oh, thank you.

  10. Barbara Radcliffe
    Posted October 5, 2018 at 4:58 pm | Permalink

    It seems a worthy decision to so honour two people working at the ‘coal front’ of the effects of war. I recommend Ms Murad’s book ‘The Last Girl’, in which she describes her community and her experience at the hands of ISIS. Not a comfortable read, but well worth the effort.

  11. Posted October 5, 2018 at 9:18 pm | Permalink

    Amid all the depressing news, it’s uplifting to see these two individuals recognized for their anti-rape activism.

  12. Blue
    Posted October 5, 2018 at 9:50 pm | Permalink

    One perceived goof out of THIS ESTEEMED HISTORY = =
    is to me .NOT. enough e v i d e n c e of
    the UNworthiness anymore … … of this most
    pretigious of the Nobel Prizes.


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