Nobel Peace Price winner Nadia Murad met with Pope Francis during a General Audience in May 2017
The Nobel Peace Prize has been awarded to Congolese Dr. Denis Mukwege and Yazidi-Iraqi Nadia Murad, who was held captive by the Islamic State group, for their work against sexual violence in armed conflicts. The Prize also highlights the suffering endured by Murad who recently met Pope Francis to talk about her experiences and seeking support for Yezidis.
As we reported yesterday, the “Nobel Peace Prize for 2018” was awarded to Denis Mukwege and Nadia Murad “for their efforts to end the use of sexual violence as a weapon of war and armed conflict.” According to the Committee, both of them “have made a crucial contribution to focusing attention on, and combating such war crimes.”
The Norwegian Nobel Committee made clear it wanted to send a special message about sexual violence with this year’s Nobel Peace price. The Committee also noted the special bravery of one of the laureates Murad, saying that she tackled sexual violence by speaking about her experiences in Iraq.
“Nadia Murad is the witness who tells of the abuses perpetrated against herself and others. Each of them in their own way has helped to give greater visibility to war-time sexual violence so that the perpetrators can be held accountable for their actions.”
Last year, she actually met the pope during his weekly general audience at the Vatican. It happened on May 3, 2017.
“Nadia Murad met briefly with Pope Francis in St. Peter’s Square during Pope’s May 3rd general audience. The pope extended his warm welcome to Nadia and expressed Vatican’s support for the Yezidis and other religious minorities,” as it was reported in an online statement.
During that conversation at the Vatican, she sought spiritual support for the suffering of her people and thanked him for having spoken out about crimes not just against Christians but also against other ethnic and religious minorities, including the Yazidi.
Pope Francis expressed his solidarity and prayers for them and expressed deep concern about sexual violence and other atrocities.
Murad is an advocate for the Yazidi minority in Iraq and for refugee and women’s rights in general. She was enslaved and raped by Islamic State fighters in Mosul, Iraq, in 2014.
Nadia was only 23 when she was named the U.N.‘s Goodwill Ambassador and her book “The Last Girl” tells of her captivity, the loss of her family and her eventual escape.
She is not alone: An estimated 3,000 Yazidi girls and women who were victims of rape and other abuses by Islamic militants. She managed to escape after three months and chose to speak about her experiences.