Peter Wallensteen on the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize: An Important Prize

Author: Hannah Heinzekehr

The 2018 Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to Denis Mukwege and Nadia Murad for their efforts to address sexual violence as a war crime. "Denis Mukwege is the helper who has devoted his life to defending these victims. Nadia Murad is the witness who tells of the abuses perpetrated against herself and others. Each of them in their own way has helped to give greater visibility to wartime sexual violence, so that the perpetrators can be held accountable for their actions," said Berit Reiss-Anderson, chair of the Norwegian Nobel Committee, in her announcement of the award. 

Peter Wallensteen is the Richard G. Starmann Sr. Research Professor Emeritus of Peace Studies at the University of Notre Dame’s Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies and Senior Professor in the Department of Peace and Conflict Research at Sweden’s Uppsala University:

"The 2018 Nobel Peace Prize 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 war crimes and making the perpetrators accountable.

The prize builds on considerable study, not the least within the field of peace studies, since the systematic use of sexual violence was first observed to be a strategic tool by warring parties in the Balkan wars of the 1990s. Dr. Mukwege has rightly been nominated many times before for his extraordinary efforts in the Democratic Republic of Congo. It is also important that Ms. Murad, as a young person, a victim, and a representative of a persecuted minority group shares this award with him, and thus points to such violence in another ongoing conflict situation, the one in Iraq and involving ISIS."

Contact: Peter Wallensteen,