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Dr Denis Mukwege: Meet Africa's 2016 Nobel Peace Prize Hopeful

In October 2012, Dr. Denis Mukwege was violently attacked and his family was held at gunpoint at his home in an assassination attempt - Jos...

In October 2012, Dr. Denis Mukwege was violently attacked and his family was held at gunpoint at his home in an assassination attempt - Joseph Bizimana, his trusted friend and security guard, was killed - and this year, the Congolese gynaecologist may win the Nobel Peace Prize for braving bullets to treat rape victims.

The attack came several weeks after Dr. Mukwege denounced the country’s 16-year-long conflict and called for those responsible to be brought to justice during a speech at the United Nations.

But competition is tough.

Nobel judges typically select from several broad categories. A classic scenario is when two bitter enemies lay down their guns and talk peace - such as in Colombia's process to end a war that claimed a quarter of a million lives.
Dr Mukwege with Some of the Victims 

Without a Colombian option, the committee may instead elevate last year's nuclear deal with Iran, which effectively curbed Tehran's nuclear drive, putting doomsday bombs out of reach, in exchange for a gradual lifting of crippling sanctions.

That could see prizes for Washington's top diplomat John Kerry, his Iranian counterpart Javad Zarif and Federica Mogherini, the European Union foreign policy chief, or the nuclear experts Ali Akbar Salehi, head of Iran's Atomic Energy Organisation, and US Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz.

"Getting the Iran nuclear agreement was complex, but the most difficult element is implementation, and that will define how successful it is," Vanda Felbab-Brown, a scholar from the Brookings Institution think-tank, told Al Jazeera.

Panellists also often pick dissidents, such as Iranian activist Shirin Ebadi in 2003 and jailed Chinese campaigner Liu Xiaobo in 2010 - a decision that riled Beijing. This year, that could translate to Gannushkina, Snowden or the Saudi blogger Raif Badawi.

Snowden, who exposed the scope of US surveillance, would likewise mark a snub to Washington. But the conservative-leaning panel under chairwoman Kaci Kullmann Five will probaby choose a winner more atoned to Nobel peace-making traditions, Ask said.

Dr. Mukwege is a world-renowned gynecological surgeon who is the founder and medical director of Panzi Hospital in Bukavu, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). 

He founded the hospital in 1999 as a clinic for gynecological and obstetric care, and expected to be working on issues of maternal health. Since 1999, however, Dr. Mukwege and his staff have helped to care for more than 30,000 survivors of sexual violence. 

The hospital not only treats survivors with physical wounds, but also provides legal, and psycho-social services to its patients. Even patients who cannot afford post-rape medical care are treated without charge at Panzi Hospital.

Dr. Mukwege has been fearless in his efforts to increase protections for women and to advocate that those responsible for se.xual violence be brought to justice, including the Congolese government and militia groups laying siege to eastern DRC. - Online Sources 

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