Senior Professor Peter Wallensteen comments on the Nobel peace prize


The Nobel peace prize 2018 goes to Dr. Denis Mukwege and Ms. Nadia Murad, two “brave” individuals that have stood up to sexual violence as ‘the helper’ and as the ‘witness’, as expressed by the chair of the Norwegian Nobel Committee, Ms. Berit Reiss-Andersen. The prize gives visibility to sexual violence in war times and emphasizes the importance of pursuing such violence as a war crimes and making the perpetrators accountable. Dr. Mukwege has rightly been nominated many times before for his extraordinary efforts in the Democratic Republic of Congo. This makes it important that also that Ms. Murad, as a young person, a victim and a representative of a persecuted minority shares this with him, and thus points to such violence also in another ongoing conflict situation, the one in Iraq and involving ISIS.

The prize relates to thorough studies not the least within the field of peace research. The systematic use of sexual violence as a strategic tool by warring parties was first observed in the Balkan wars of the 1990s. The Department of Peace and Conflict Research has a number of researchers and projects on this topic.