ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Yezidi (Ezidi) survivor and 2018 Nobel Peace Prize winner Nadia Murad visited her hometown on Friday and stated that she will use her prize money to create a hospital there that will focus on victims of sexual assault.
Murad’s speech came during her visit to Sinjar (Shingal), where she was speaking to Ezidis in the town.
“With the money I got from the Nobel Peace Prize, I will build a hospital in Shingal to treat ill people, mainly widows and women who were exposed to sexual abuses by Islamic State (IS) militants,” she said.
She thanked the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) and the Iraqi federal government for approving her plan and said she would be contacting humanitarian organizations soon to start the hospital's construction.
In 2014, she was kidnapped in her village of Kojo and held by IS for months along with over 6,000 other Ezidi women and girls. While there, she was tortured, raped, sold, and treated as a sex slave by the jihadist group before finding a way to escape.
Earlier in this month, she shared the roughly one million dollar prize with Congolese doctor Denis Mukwege for “their efforts to end the use of sexual violence as a weapon of war and armed conflict.”
She did not specify if her recent contact with Mukwege, who founded a hospital where he has treated thousands of victims of sexual assault in wartime, influenced her decision to fund the project.
After escaping from her captors in late 2014, Murad moved to Germany where she started an intensive campaign to appeal for supporting Ezidis and demanding justice for crimes committed by IS members.
Shingal was previously home for some 400,000 people, mostly Ezidis.
The religious minority experienced atrocities and mass executions at the hands of the extremist group for years after IS overran Shingal, forcing hundreds of thousands to flee their homes. Others were not as lucky and remained stranded in the war zone for extended periods.
Also on Friday, Iraqi Parliamentary Speaker Mohammed al-Halbousi visited the town of Shekhan in the Kurdistan Region’s Duhok Province, where he announced that he intended to focus on compensating members of the Ezidi community who suffered under IS and to assist Ezidis now displaced in their efforts to return home.
Editing by John J. Catherine