ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) - Nobel Peace Prize recipient Nadia Murad called on the international community on Friday to remain committed to the rebuilding of communities ravaged by genocide and said that the persecution of minorities like the Yezidi (Ezidi) people must end.
“We must remain committed to rebuilding communities ravaged by genocide. Survivors deserve a safe and secure pathway home or safe passage elsewhere,” she said in an online statement, later that day.
“We must not only imagine a better future for women, children and persecuted minorities, we must work consistently to make it happen - prioritizing humanity, not war.”
Murad shares the 2018 prize by the Norwegian Nobel Committee this year has with Congolese gynecologist Denis Mukwege, who founded a hospital where he specializes in the treatment of women who have been gang-raped by military forces.
Both are being hailed for their respective efforts to end the use of sexual violence as a weapon of war and armed conflict.
“This morning the Nobel Committee informed me that I was selected as a co-recipient of the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize. I am incredibly honored and humbled by their support and I share this award with Yazidis, Iraqis, Kurds, other persecuted minorities and all of the countless victims of sexual violence around the world,” she said.
“As a survivor, I am grateful for this opportunity to draw international attention to the plight of the Yazidi people who have suffered unimaginable crimes since the genocide by Daesh (IS), which began in 2014,” she added.
Murad was among the thousands of Ezidi women who were abducted and enslaved by the Islamic State (IS) when they overran the city of Sinjar (Shingal) in 2014. She was repeatedly raped and spent approximately one month in captivity. She also suffered the loss of six of her nine brothers and her mother.
“Many Yazidis will look upon this prize and think of family members that were lost, are still unaccounted for, and of the 1,300 women and children, which remain in captivity. Like many minority groups, the Yazidis, have carried the weight of historical persecution. Women in particular have suffered greatly as they have been, and continue to be the victims of sexual violence,” she concluded.
“For myself, I think of my mother, who was murdered by Daesh, the children with whom I grew up, and what we must do to honor them. Persecution of minorities must end. We must work together with determination – to prove that genocidal campaigns will not only fail, but lead to accountability for the perpetrators and justice for the survivors,” she concluded.
Matthew Barber, former executive director for Yazda, a US-based rights group focusing on the Ezidi population, congratulated Murad for receiving the prize on Twitter.
He did, however, add, “May the international community not hide behind awards to create a false sense of accomplishment regarding post-Genocide recovery—It's easier to hand out awards than to face our responsibility to rebuild Sinjar.”
“Not only must Sinjar be rebuilt, but Western governments must become directly involved in holding Baghdad accountable for the development of real administrative and security structures that will keep Sinjar safe, otherwise genocide could recur leaving no peace for Yazidis.”
Editing by John J. Catherine