Prize money will not be able to bring back property of 400,000 Yazidis, says Nobel Peace Prize winner Nadia Murad

Reuters Washington, DC, USA Oct 08, 2018, 11.23 PM(IST)

Nadia Murad during a hearing on IS ideology in Washington Photograph:( Getty )

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Murad was one of about 7,000 women and girls captured in northwest Iraq in August 2014 by ISIS

Nadia Murad, the Iraqi Yazidi woman held as a sex slave by Islamic State militants who was awarded the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize told reporters in Washington on Monday that humanity should be the basis of politics and national interest.

Also Read: Nadia Murad, from jihadist slave to Nobel laureate

"We should work together for towards building a world that is fair, that is prosperous, and every human is given the opportunity to live in dignity," Murad said.

Nadia Murad, who became the face of a global campaign to free the Yazidi, was on Friday named as a winner of the 2018 prize alongside Denis Mukwege, a doctor who helps victims of sexual violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Murad was one of about 7,000 women and girls captured in northwest Iraq in August 2014 and held by Islamic State in Mosul where she was tortured and raped. She escaped after three months and reached Germany, from where she campaigns for her people.

"I commit today before you to be the voice for those who don't have a voice, to stand for those who seek justice and bring fairness to survivors wherever they might be," the Nobel Peace laureate said.

She has taken to the world stage to appeal for support for the Yazidi, in the United Nations Security Council in 2015 and to governments globally, earning her the appointment as a UN Goodwill Ambassador.

"As for the prize money, I commit one hundred per cent of the money, at least my share, to the goals and to the work that we are doing currently and that we will do in the future. But, as you know, half a million dollars will not be able to buy 3,000 Yazidis that are in captivity, for each person, usually its about 20,000-30,000 dollars to buy them back," Murad said.

"One prize money will not be able to bring back the property of 400,000 Yazidis, everything that they lost in Sinjar in one day," she added. 

Murad said she was "honored and humbled" by the award which she would share with Yazidis, Iraqis, Kurds and other persecuted minorities as well as victims of sexual violence. She plans to spend the prize money, which she is spliting with Denis Mukwege, a doctor who helps victims of sexual violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo, towards the work being done to help victims of violence, especially women.

She said the prize would make many Yazidis think about family members still unaccounted for as well as about 1,300 women and children who remain in captivity.

"The prize money will not be able to rebuild tents for villages for Yazidi villages that were destroyed by ISIS in 2014," she added.

The Yazidis, a religious sect whose beliefs combine elements of ancient Middle Eastern religions, are regarded by Islamic State as devil-worshippers.

Yazidi campaigners said the award would reinvigorate their quest for justice.