October 5, 2018 — New York
AJC congratulates Nadia Murad, co-recipient of the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize for her advocacy against wartime sexual assault.
“Honoring Nadia Murad with the Nobel Peace Prize is an extraordinary recognition of a remarkable young person,” said AJC CEO David Harris, who has met Murad in New York and Berlin. “In an extremely dire situation, Nadia mustered the courage and resolve to escape from savage ISIS captivity and emerge as an articulate voice of clarity and empathy for the Yazidi people, indeed for all who are survivors of rape and other forms of sexual abuse in brutal, violent conflicts.”
In 2014, at age 21, Murad was taken captive by ISIS terrorists, who had carried out a vicious attack on her village as they captured large swathes of territory in Iraq. Held as a sex slave for three months in Mosul, where she was repeatedly tortured and raped, Murad managed to escape to the Kurdish region in Iraq, and then to Germany, where she was reunited with her sister and learned that six of her brothers and her mother had been murdered in Iraq.
The Yazidis numbered around 550,000 in Iraq before 2014. Some 100,000 have since left the country, and at least 3,000 are still missing.
AJC, the global Jewish advocacy organization, provided several humanitarian relief grants to assist Yazidi refugees in the Kurdish area of northern Iran and in Berlin.
AJC Berlin featured Nadia Murad at a moving ceremony on August 3, 2014, attended by diplomats, politicians, government officials, human rights activists and journalists, marking the first anniversary of the brutal invasion in Iraq by ISIS terrorists of the Yazidi ancestral homelands.
Murad, as well as other female Yazidi survivors of ISIS, visited AJC headquarters in New York, as well as several AJC regional offices in the U.S.
During her visit to Israel in July 2017, AJC Jerusalem hosted Murad for a meeting with a group of young women involved with AJC ACCESS, the organization’s young professional division.
“Brave individuals, even the youngest, are ultimately the most critical and impactful ones calling out as loudly as they can for urgent help. The Nobel Prize Committee heard Nadia Murad and has given an unparalleled boost to her and the battle against those who continue to use sex as a weapon of war,” said Harris.
The other recipient of the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize is Denis Mukwege, a gynecologist and surgeon, who has long worked to treat thousands of women and girls affected by rape and sexual violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo. AJC’s Jacob Blaustein Institute for the Advancement of Human Rights supported a pilot project of Physicians for Human Rights with Mukwege and his colleagues at the Panzi hospital. Their forensic evaluations and documentation provide evidence to prosecute perpetrators of these crimes.