Her impassioned fight for justice for victims of sexual violence saw her awarded this year’s Nobel Peace Prize, and Nadia Murad continued her mission on-stage while collecting the prestigious accolade. The Iraqi activist called for action to be taken against war criminals as she accepted her prize, which she has been co-awarded alongside Denis Mukwege, a doctor from the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Mukwege is a gynaecologist who has treated thousands of rape survivors in his native country, while Murad has fiercely campaigned to free the Yazidi people from the clutches of the Islamic State. “So far, the perpetrators of the crimes which led to this genocide have not been brought to justice. I do not seek more sympathy; I want to translate those feelings into actions on the ground,” the 25-year-old said as she took to the podium. “The international community must be committed to providing asylum and immigration opportunities to those who have become victims of this genocide.”
Yazidi campaigner Murad was kidnapped four years ago by militants, and sold into sex slavery before making her escape. When Islamic State arrived in her village in 2014, Murad also lost her mother and six brothers amid the violence. In total, more than 6,500 Yazidi women and girls have been kidnapped, raped, bought and sold, Murad told attendees at the Nobel ceremony, held in Oslo, Norway, with 3,000 women and girls still in sexual captivity. “The fact remains that the only prize in the world that can restore our dignity is justice and the prosecution of criminals,” she added.
Joining the activist at the ceremony was British-Lebanese human rights lawyer Amal Clooney, who has represented Murad as she shares her story in a bid to build war crime cases against Islamic State. Wearing a scarlet Oscar la Renta skirt and belted blouse, the Beirut-born philanthropist looked on proudly as Murad took to the stage. The Yazidi campaigner’s win “sends a message that survivors of sexual violence must not be ignored, and that their abusers must be held to account,” Clooney said when her Nobel award was first announced. “At a time when so many women’s voices are still silenced, Nadia’s has been heard around the world.”
Murad is the first Iraqi to win the Nobel Peace Prize, and is also the first UN goodwill ambassador for survivors of human trafficking. Before departing the stage, she implored leaders around to world to help liberate those in enslavement. “The protection of the Yazidis and all vulnerable communities around the world is the responsibility of the international community,” she said. “It is my view that all victims deserve a safe haven until justice is done for them.”