Dec. 10, 2018 (GIN) – Winners of this year’s Nobel Peace Prize, Dr Denis Mukwege of the Congo and Nadia Murad of Iraq’s Yazidi minority group, were unsparing in their criticism of the international community which, they say, has failed to take the necessary steps to protect women and girls against rape and sexual violence.
“It is not just perpetrators of violence who are responsible for their crimes,” Dr. Mukwege said in his acceptance speech this week in Oslo, Norway. “It is also those who choose to look the other way.”
Mukwege spoke of the “indifference eating away at our societies”, pointing out that the root cause of violence, war and poverty in the DRC is because of its natural wealth. He called on consumers to insist that their smartphones, jewelry, cars and gadgets, often made with Congolese minerals, were not made at a terrible human cost.
“Turning a blind eye to this tragedy is being complicit,” he said.
Mukwege did not go easy on the Congolese leadership which, he claimed, collaborates with those that loot the country for power, wealth and glory at the expense of millions of innocent men, women and children abandoned in extreme poverty.
“The profit from our minerals ends up in the pockets of a predatory oligarchy,” he declared.
Both laureates said the reason atrocities such as those they had witnessed still occurred in the 21st century was because perpetrators were not brought to justice.
It is not just consumers, rebels and Congolese officials who bear responsibility for the situation, he said. “The Congolese people have been humiliated, abused and massacred for more than two decades in plain sight of the international community.”
Murad, too, condemned the inaction of the international community, which she said did nothing to deter or stop the genocide that Islamic State committed against Yazidis in Syria and Iraq, saying her people had received sympathy but not justice and protection.
After Mukwege was named the joint winner of the prize in October, he called on the DRC’s “illegal and illegitimate” government to quit, accusing it of perpetuating the violence and failing to protect women.
Elections are set to be held later this month.