Yazidi activist urges action against sexual violence in war

Yazidi activist urges action against sexual violence in war
Nobel laureates Nadia Murad and Denis Mukwege have said that international recognition of their work must be followed by global action against sexual violence.
2 min read
09 December, 2018
Nadia Murad [L] and Denis Mukwege [R] jointly won the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize [AFP]

A winner of this year's Nobel Peace Prize said that attention the prize drew to sexual violence against women in war zones must be followed by action by the international community against the abuses.

Denis Mukwege made the comments on Sunday in a news conference with Yazidi sexual slavery survivor Nadia Murad, with whom he shares the 9-million Swedish kronor ($1 million) prize.

Mukwege was honoured for his work with sexually abused women at the hospital he founded in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Murad recognised for the activism she started after being kidnapped and raped by militants of the Islamic State group.

"What we see during armed conflicts is that women's bodies become battlefields and this cannot be acceptable during our time," Mukwege said through a translator. "We cannot only denounce it, we now need to act."

Murad, meanwhile, said raising awareness was sometimes difficult.

"In a way it's a shameful job for girls, for women to rise up and admit these atrocities have happened to them," she said.

She added that she had had to push her own feelings aside in order to carry on with her task.

"We, the women and girls, have to move out of this violence," she told the news conference.

Murad was one of thousands of young women from the Yazidi religious minority who were kidnapped by IS in Iraq four years ago and held in sexual slavery, but was able to escape.

Since fleeing Iraq, she has settled in Germany, where she leads her human rights work and campaigning for Yazidi rights.

In 2016, at the age of 23, Murad was named UN goodwill ambassador and won the EU's Sakharov Prize for Human Rights.