Nobel Peace Prize winner who found refuge in Germany honoured

Rachel Loxton
Rachel Loxton - [email protected]
Nobel Peace Prize winner who found refuge in Germany honoured
Yazidi campaigner Nadia Murad, who found refuge in Germany, is the joint winner of the Nobel Peace Prize. Photo: DPA

Yazidi campaigner Nadia Murad, who has won the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize along with Congolese physician Denis Mukwege, has been praised by Angela Merkel and the German region that offered her a home.


Murad, 25, and Mukwege, 63, were jointly given the accolade for their work and tireless campaigning against sexual violence in war.

Mukwege, 63, a doctor, has devoted decades of his life to caring for victims of sexual assault in his homeland, the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Murad, a Yazidi Kurdish human rights activist from Iraq, has used her own story of enslavement and rape by Islamic State (IS) to publicize human rights abuses.

The Norwegian Nobel Committee said on Friday that Mukwege and Murad had been awarded the prize “for their efforts to end the use of sexual violence as a weapon of war and armed conflict”.

In 2015 Murad came to Germany as part of a special project for female victims of violence offering physical and emotional care. She was one of more than 1000 women and children to benefit from the refugee programme of the state government of Baden-Württemberg.

The southwest German state budgeted €95 million to the project.

Since September 2016, Murad has been the first UN Goodwill Ambassador for the Dignity of Survivors of Human Trafficking. She has travelled the world, speaking publicly about her ordeal and campaigning for human rights.

'A survivor with courage and dignity'

Murad, who was in Cambridge, Massachusetts, when she heard she had won, spoke to the organizers of the prize by phone when she heard she had won. She said: “I hope that it will help bring justice for those women who suffered from sexual violence.”

The region's Prime Minister Winfried Kretschmann paid tribute to both winners.

In a statement Kretschmann said: "Baden-Württemberg congratulates Nadia Murad and Denis Mukwege on the Nobel Peace Prize.

“Nadia Murad came to our country as a member of the Baden-Württemberg special contingent. This incredibly strong young woman made it clear to all of us that she did not want to see herself as a victim of the so-called ‘Islamic State’, but as a survivor with courage and dignity.

“She testified several times before the United Nations. Her speech in the state parliament of Baden-Württemberg on December 1st, 2016 deeply moved everyone.

“We will continue to offer Nadia Murad a home in our country, protect her and support her in her tasks as UN Special Ambassador.”

Congolese physician Denis Mukwege and Yazidi campaigner Nadia Murad. Photo: DPA

Murad met Chancellor Angela Merkel in 2016 to discuss her work helping others.

SEE ALSO: Yazidis seek healing in Germany after Isis 'hell'

On Friday Merkel conveyed her "warmest congratulations" to both winners. Government spokesman Steffen Seibert said in Berlin that the federal government had "great respect" for the work of the award winners, reports Welt.

"These are two great prize winners, both of whom stand for the cry for humanity - in the midst of unimaginable cruelties that people do to other people," Seibert said.

Murad was abducted along with thousands of other Yazidi women in August 2014 when their home village of Kocho in Sinjar, northern Iraq, was taken over by IS.

She was captured alongside her sisters, and lost six brothers and her mother after they were killed by the extremists.

Murad has told how she was taken to Mosul with 150 other girls where they were enslaved by fighters and forced to “marry” them. She eventually escaped and made her way via a refugee camp to seek asylum in Stuttgart through the programme.

The Nobel Prize committee said she had shown courage by talking publicly about her suffering and speaking up on behalf of other victims.

At 25, Murad is the second youngest Nobel Peace Prize laureate after the Pakistani girls' education advocate Malala Yousafzai, who was 17 when she won in 2014.


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