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This year’s Nobel Peace Prize celebrates the strength, the courage and the vision, the stories of a man and a woman who have risked their own lives to help, protect and save others. Denis Mukwege and Nadia Murad have worked tirelessly within their communities to bring about change, and put an end to the use of sexual violence as a weapon of war.
I have had the privilege to meet both Denis Mukwege and Nadia Murad when they were awarded with the European Parliament’s Sakharov Prize. Their stories have inspired our action in the last years.
Denis Mukwege has devoted his entire life to help women who have suffered during years on conflict. He has helped them start again and move past the violence they have suffered, to take control of their lives, to fight for their freedom and for the future of their country.
Nadia Murad has refused to accept the violence imposed on her and on her people. She rebelled against the idea that people can be made slaves because of their religious beliefs, that women can be treated as a war trophy, that rapes and sexual violence during conflicts can be dismissed as normal practice and not considered as they are: war crimes. Nadia believes that it is possible to change culture and attitudes, through a personal and collective commitment to change.
The European Union has financed Denis Mukwege's Panzi Hospital through its development and humanitarian assistance. And we are supporting reconstruction and reconciliation in Iraq, to help build a country where all people can find their place – whatever their faith, their ethnicity and their gender. We will continue to lead the way in the work to protect and advance everyone’s fundamental rights.