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Saturday July 20th, 2019 5:36AM

The Latest: Mukwege said gender equality is 'disgrace'

By The Associated Press
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OSLO, Norway (AP) — The Latest on the awarding of the Nobel Prizes (all times local):

12:05 p.m.

The Congolese gynecological surgeon who has won the Nobel Peace Prize for treating victims of sexual violence has previously called gender inequality a disgrace to society.

Dr. Denis Mukwege made the comments last year to an international assembly of the Lutheran church in Namibia. He said churches must speak out against sexual abuse, and he condemned what he called the "inhumanity" that some men show toward women.

Mukwege has treated thousands of women in Congo, many of whom were victims of gang rape in different conflicts. Armed men tried to kill him in 2012, forcing him to temporarily leave the country.

Mukwege won the Nobel Peace Prize on Friday along with Nadia Murad, a spokeswoman for Yazidi women abused by the Islamic State group.

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11:40 a.m.

The Norwegian Nobel Committee says that Denis Mukwege is "the foremost, most unifying symbol, both nationally and internationally, of the struggle to end sexual violence in war and armed conflicts."

Mukwege and his team have treated thousands of patients who have been raped or sexually abused in Congo's long civil war.

"The importance of Dr. Mukwege's enduring, dedicated and selfless efforts in this field cannot be overstated. He has repeatedly condemned impunity for mass rape and criticized the Congolese government and other countries for not doing enough to stop the use of sexual violence against women as a strategy and weapon of war," the committee said in its citation Friday.

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11:35 a.m.

Nadia Murad, one of the two winners of the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize, has become a spokeswoman for Yazidi women abused by the Islamic State group.

In December 2015, she told the U.N. Security Council how she and thousands of other Yazidi women and girls were abducted, held in captivity and repeatedly raped after the Iraqi area of Sinjar fell to IS militants in August 2014. She escaped after three months in captivity.

A year after most IS-held areas were retaken by Iraqi security forces, around 3,000 Yazidi women and girls are still missing, most presumed dead.

At the age of 23, Murad was named the U.N.'s first Goodwill Ambassador for the Dignity of Survivors of Human Trafficking.

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11:30 a.m.

The head of the Norwegian Nobel Committee says this year's Nobel Peace winners were chosen to draw attention to the fact that "women are ... actually used as weapons of war."

Berit Reiss-Andersen said after announcing the prize Friday that both laureates, Denis Mukwege of Congo and ethnic Yazidi Nadia Murad, had put their personal security at stake as activists on the issue.

Oyvind Sternersen, a Nobel historian, said "This is a Nobel bullseye; recognizing victims of war has a long history in the peace prize."

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11 a.m.

The Nobel Peace Prize has been awarded to Denis Mukwege and Nadia Murad "for their efforts to end the use of sexual violence as a weapon of war and armed conflict."

The winners were named Friday by the Norwegian Nobel Committee.

Congolese doctor Mukwege has been a critic of the Congolese government and has treated victims of sexual violence. Murad is a Yazidi who was a captive of the Islamic State group.

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6 a.m.

The Nobel Peace Prize is always widely anticipated and sometimes controversial.

The Norwegian Nobel Committee, which will announce this year's prize on Friday, has received nominations for 216 individuals and 115 organizations. But only a few dozen of them are known — the committee keeps the list of nominations secret for 50 years, although some candidates are revealed by their nominators.

Among those put forward this year are the Syrian civilian aid group White Helmets, Russia's Novaya Gazeta newspaper, Edward Snowden and the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees.

Last year's winner was the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons.

The 2018 prize is worth 9 million Swedish kronor ($1.01 million). Past winners who came under criticism include former U.S. President Barack Obama, who won in 2009 after less than a year in office.

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP Health, AP World News, AP Business, AP Health - Women's health
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