Magazine article The Christian Century

Denis Mukwege, a Congolese Christian Surgeon, and Nadia Murad, a Yazidi Human Rights Activist

Magazine article The Christian Century

Denis Mukwege, a Congolese Christian Surgeon, and Nadia Murad, a Yazidi Human Rights Activist

Article excerpt

Denis Mukwege, a Congolese Christian surgeon, and Nadia Murad, a Yazidi human rights activist, were honored with the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize "for their efforts to end the use of sexual violence as a weapon of war and armed conflict."

The Nobel Committee announced the recipients in October; the prize will be given in December. Mukwege--who founded Panzi Hospital in Bukavu, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, for sexual assault survivors --gave the keynote address at the 2017 assembly of the Lutheran World Federation in Windhoek, Namibia. He told the assembly about accompanying his father on pastoral visits to people who were ill and finding his own vocation in medicine.

During the ongoing conflict in the DRC, he has treated thousands of victims of a campaign of rape--part of what he has called an economic war motivated by a desire to control land and resources. More than 6 million Congolese have died in the conflict.

In addition to providing medical care, he has spoken out on behalf of women who have suffered sexual violence, and he has been part of efforts to assist survivors through economic self-sufficiency programs, cases in the legal system, and moral and psychological support.

"The root of sexual violence is to be found above all in the teaching in our churches that despises women," he said at the LWF assembly. "Certain theologies have reduced women to the role of 'reproducers' in the service of men. It is clear that there is a link between this misogyny, this teaching that despises women, supported by false theologies, and the sexual violence to which women are subjected whether in times of peace or times of war. …

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