Statement by UN Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of UN Women, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka on the award of the Nobel Peace Prize 2018


I warmly welcome the decision of the Norwegian Nobel Committee 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. We celebrate these gender equality leaders, along with their care and trust of women.

In 2015, I witnessed first-hand Dr. Mukwege’s exceptional work with survivors of sexual violence at the Panzi Hospital in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Nadia Murad, a Yazidi rights activist and the first Goodwill Ambassador for the Dignity of Survivors of Human Trafficking of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), has changed our understanding of the ordeals faced by women and girls who are raped, tortured and exchanged among militants in war zones. Her voice has been unfaltering in telling her story, constructively helping others to bring to light the hidden picture of rights denied and lives ruined.

There can be no peace while women and girls are raped with impunity as a tactic of war. The 2018 Peace Laureates are doing vital work to bring visibility and voice to this violation of women's rights and to bring justice to women and girls brutally harmed by sexual violence in conflict.