2018 Nobel Prize for Peace to Dr. Denis Mukwege and Nadia Murad

5 October 2018
Author: UNFPA

Statement by UNFPA Executive Director Dr. Natalia Kanem on the awarding of the 2018 Nobel Prize for Peace to Dr. Denis Mukwege and Nadia Murad

On behalf of UNFPA, the United Nations sexual and reproductive health agency, I congratulate Nobel Peace Prize recipients Dr. Denis Mukwege and Nadia Murad for their remarkable efforts to stop rape and other forms of sexual violence as a weapon of war and to help survivors.

Dr. Mukwege heads the renowned Panzi Hospital in the Democratic Republic of Congo that provides medical care to survivors of sexual violence. As a surgeon, he also treats obstetric fistula, a debilitating condition resulting from prolonged obstructed labour in the absence of medical care or from rape-related trauma. He is a member of the UNFPA-led Campaign to End Fistula.

Ms. Murad, a Yazidi from Iraq, was enslaved and raped by Islamic State fighters in 2014 and is an outspoken advocate for the rights of women and refugees everywhere.

Around the world, sexual violence is being employed as a tactic of war, terrorism, torture and repression, including the targeting of victims on the basis of their actual or perceived ethnic, religious, political or clan affiliation.

In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, UNFPA reported 5,783 cases of sexual violence in conflict-affected provinces in 2017, double the number reported a year earlier.

In response to the humanitarian emergency in Iraq, UNFPA established 139 women’s centres, four youth centres and 94 health facilities that provide maternal health care as well as medical care for survivors of sexual and gender-based violence.

Dr. Mukwege and Ms. Murad have been at the frontlines helping and giving voice and agency to women and girls subjected to the horrors of sexual violence and other human rights violations. Their courage, leadership and commitment are an inspiration to us all.

Related content


Every girl has the right to speak up and be heard. Now, more than ever, it's time for us to listen. Today, as we celebrate the International Day of the Girl, we have an unprecedented opportunity to uplift the adolescent girl, to drive progress in our world.

As we seek...

Yesterday, leaders at the United Nations commemorated the 25th anniversary of the historic Fourth World Conference on Women, when more than 30,000 activists and advocates convened in China to adopt a comprehensive agenda to realize gender equality, known as the Beijing Declaratio
Sexual and gender-based violence affects one in three women and girls globally. In some humanitarian settings, this figure is estimated to be two in three.