ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) - The 2018 Nobel Peace Prize has been awarded to Denis Mukwege and Yezidi (Ezidi) human rights activist, Nadia Murad, for their efforts to end the use of sexual violence as a weapon of war and armed conflict.
The award was announced Friday at the Norwegian Nobel Institute in Oslo. The recipient is chosen by a committee of five people elected by the Norwegian Parliament.
Nadia Murad is a 24-year-old Yezidi woman who advocates on behalf of her community and survivors of genocide.
BREAKING NEWS:— The Nobel Prize (@NobelPrize) October 5, 2018
The Norwegian Nobel Committee has decided to award the Nobel Peace Prize for 2018 to Denis Mukwege and Nadia Murad for their efforts to end the use of sexual violence as a weapon of war and armed conflict. #NobelPrize #NobelPeacePrize pic.twitter.com/LaICSbQXWM
In an interview with Kurdistan 24 following a testimony to the US Congress in June 2016, Murad said, “Today, I, as a [representative] of the thousands of Ezidi women, talked about the inhumane crimes that [IS] has committed against Ezidi people.”
She was among the thousands of Ezidi women who were abducted and enslaved by the self-proclaimed Islamic State (IS). She was repeatedly raped and spent approximately one month in captivity.
This includes an initial period when Nadia’s village was under siege by IS, a second period when she was held as a sexual slave at different IS sites, and a final short period in which Nadia was kept hidden by a family in IS-controlled territory until she was able to escape.
Nadia suffered the loss of six of her nine brothers who were slaughtered by IS in the Kocho massacre. Thousands of Ezidi men and older Ezidi women were murdered, including Nadia’s mother.
Nadia practices the Ezidi religion, which is indigenous to Kurdistan. This ancient faith preserves pre-Islamic and pre-Zoroastrian traditions. Not recognized as “people of the book” by Islamic Law, the Ezidis have repeatedly faced genocidal campaigns and discrimination over many centuries.
In August 2014, IS took control of the Kurdish Ezidi populated city of Sinjar (Shingal), enslaving women and committing mass execution and inhumane crimes against the Ezidi people.
The city was liberated on Nov. 14, 2015, by Kurdish forces with the aerial support of international coalition warplanes. But since mid-October, the area is controlled by the Iran-backed Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF), or Hashd al-Shaabi, following the Sep. 25 independence referendum.
Nadia was also the recipient of the Vaclav Havel Human Rights Prize, the Sakharov Prize, and the UN’s first Goodwill Ambassador for the Dignity of Survivors of Human Trafficking.
She also received the Clinton Global Citizen Award and the Peace Prize from the United Nations Association of Spain. She has published a New York Times Bestselling memoir titled “The Last Girl” in multiple languages in order to share her story and advocate for other survivors, including those still in captivity.
There were 331 candidates for the Nobel Peace Prize for 2018 -- the second highest number ever. Of those, 216 were individuals and 115 were organizations, according to Nobel organizers.
Last year’s prize was awarded to the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN).
Editing by Nadia Riva