The Nobel Peace Prize has been awarded to a Yazidi ex-captive of ISIS who spoke in Israel about her experience.
Nadia Murad was recognised for her work highlighting the use of sexual violence as a weapon of war, alongside Congolese doctor Denis Mukwege.
The two recipients of the £760,000 prize “have made a crucial contribution to focusing attention on, and combating, such war crimes”, the Norwegian Nobel Committee said in its announcement.
Ms Murad is one of an estimated 3,000 Yazidi girls and women who were victims of rape and other abuses by the IS army. She managed to escape after three months and chose to speak about her experiences on a global platform. At the age of 23, she was named the UN’s first goodwill ambassador for the dignity of survivors of human trafficking.
In 2017, she travelled to Israel to speak about her ordeal, where she addressed Beit Hatfutsot, the Museum of the Jewish People.
“Beit Hatfutsot tells the unique story of the Jews, and yet so much of your story echoes the experiences of my people,” she explained.
“Despite persecution, both communities have survived. The story of the Jews continues to be written each day, and for the past three years, ISIS have stolen the narrative from the Yazidi people. We won’t let them write our future. Israel shows us that a community can emerge stronger from suffering.”
Nadia was in Israel to coincide with a parliamentary Bill to officially recognise the Yazidi suffering as a genocide, something that so far has only been done by a handful of nations.
About Yad Vashem, Israel’s national memorial museum to the Holocaust, she said “the message is that there are many ways to be a hero. Like Jews, the Yazidi people are showing resistance by holding onto our identity and practising our traditions, and we need the Jewish people’s mentorship to rebuild our community. Thank you for giving us hope.”
Nadia’s story begins in August 2014, when ISIS entered her remote village of Kocho in the Sinjar region of Iraq, slaughtering the men and older women, and kidnapping thousands of others. In their attemptS to escape, thousands ran to nearby Mount Sinjar, where ISIS surrounded them. In sweltering 45-degree summer heat, without food, water or medical supplies, they were trapped. “It was all part of ISIS’ plan to wipe out the Yazidi people,” said Nadia.
In December 2015, she testified in front of the UN Security Council in New York, and in September last year became a UN Goodwill Ambassador for the Dignity of Survivors of Human Trafficking.