The Norwegian Nobel Committee on Oct. 5 awarded the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize jointly to Nadia Murad, a spokeswoman for the victims of sexual violence at the hands of ISIS in Iraq, and to Dr. Denis Mukwege, a gynecologist who treats war victims of sexual violence in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Months before being honored with the Nobel Peace Prize, Heritage recognized Murad for her efforts by hosting her in a roundtable discussion, where she shared her personal experiences with ISIS’s horrific human rights abuses—especially genocide and sexual slavery.
Olivia Enos, policy analyst in the Asian Studies Center, welcomed Murad to The Heritage Foundation on July 27.
"Nadia works tirelessly to raise awareness about the havoc ISIS wreaked on the Yazidi community. It is great to see her courageous and brave efforts commended,” Enos said. “She is a powerful voice for the voiceless among persecuted minorities from Iraq, and more voices like hers need to be elevated in the future if we hope to prevent atrocities like the one Nadia herself endured.”
ISIS attacked Murad’s village in August 2014 as part of a campaign to exterminate the Yazidi religious minority.
Murad witnessed the massacre of her family and other members of the community. Murad, along with many other young women and girls, was sold into sexual slavery. She suffered through repeated violent assaults by ISIS fighters for three months before managing to escape.
Eschewing the Iraqi cultural shame associated with being a victim of rape, Murad immediately chose to speak out against the war crimes committed against her and others like her.
She has campaigned tirelessly ever since, urging the international community to hold accountable those responsible for those war crimes. She has spoken before the U.S. House of Representatives, the U.N. General Assembly, and the British Parliament’s House of Commons.
The Trump administration is prioritizing aid to survivors of ISIS genocide through its Genocide Recovery and Persecution Response Program.
Murad has been named the U.N.’s Goodwill Ambassador for the Dignity of Survivors of Human Trafficking; was interviewed by National Geographic at the Global Positive Forum; is the subject of Alexandria Bombach's documentary film “On Her Shoulders,” which was released in theaters on Oct. 19; and is the author of an autobiography, “The Last Girl: My Story of Captivity, and My Fight Against the Islamic State.”
After receiving the Nobel Peace Prize, Murad spoke Oct. 8 at the National Press Club in Washington, where she asked for international support to eliminate sexual violence.
“A single prize and a single person cannot accomplish these goals,” she said. “We need an international effort with the help of institutions and participation of women … to bring life back to regions destroyed by war.”