Presenting the award in Geneva, UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi said that most of Atar's patients were refugees and he had lived through displacement himself, after fighting forced him to close his first hospital in Kurmuk, Sudan.
"He embodied not only solidarity, but courageous solidarity with his refugee patients, which is very scarce in today's world," Grandi noted.
According to the UNHCR, Dr. Atar is based in Bunj, in north eastern South Sudan, where he runs the only functional hospital, serving more than 200,000 people, including 144,000 refugees from Sudan's Blue Nile State.
His team at Maban Hospital carries out an average of 58 operations per week in difficult conditions with limited supplies and equipment.
In his acceptance speech, Dr. Atar said he was humble to receive the prestigious award but added: "However, this award is not for me as an individual. The award is for my team back in Maban."
He said his message to the world was: "Let us continue tirelessly, sparing no effort, in the search for peace."
UNHCR's Nansen Refugee Award recognizes extraordinary humanitarian work on behalf of refugees, internally displaced or stateless people.