Yazidi Activist Wins Vaclav Havel Rights Award

Source:  Radio Free Europe Radio Liberty / www.rferl.org /

The fourth Vaclav Havel Human Rights Prize, which honors outstanding work in defense of human rights, has been awarded to Yazidi human rights activist Nadia Murad.

The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe said in a statement that the 60,000 euro ($67,200) prize was presented at a special ceremony on October 10 in Strasbourg.

Nadia Murad receives the Vaclav Havel Human Rights Prize at the Council of Europe in Strasbourg on October 10. Source EPA

“If there had been justice in the world, I would have been today with my family in our small village, [the name of which is] Kocho,” Murad said on receiving the award.

“I would have been a regular rural girl, just like any other girl — living my life in happiness and peace and continuing my studies,” she said. “However, there was no justice for me and for Yazidi society to which I belong.”

Murad, who was kept in slavery at the age of 21 by Islamic State (IS) militants in northern Iraq for three months in 2014, managed to flee to Germany and has since become a noted human rights activist and UN goodwill ambassador.

She was one of the first to bring the plight of the Yazidi community — including sexual enslavement and the human trafficking of women and children by IS militants — to the attention of the international community.

The other finalists for the award were Serbian journalist and media-rights activist Gordana Igric and the International Institute of Human Rights/Rene Cassin Foundation, which promotes human rights.