Yazidi survivors of Daesh sexual slavery win EU human rights prize
Nadia Murad Basee Taha called for justice for the victims of the Islamic State group and argued that the 2014 attack on the Yazidis should be recognized as a genocide. (AFP/Mark Wilson)
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Nadia Murad and Lamiya Aji Bashar, who survived sexual enslavement by Daesh (also known as Islamic State), have been awarded the European Union's top prize for human rights, EU lawmaker Guy Verhofstadt announced Thursday on Twitter.
He described them as "brave Yazidi women who escaped captivity by Daesh," using an alternative name for the extremist group.
Both women come from the Iraqi village of Kocho that was overrun by the extremists in August 2014.
Daesh used sex slaves as prizes for its fighters and actively encouraged rape. The Yezidi religious minority was particularly singled out for persecution, as the extremist group sees them as infidels.
The two women, who now live in Germany, campaign for the thousands of Yezidi girls and women forced into sex slavery by the extremist group.
The 50,000-euro (54,500-dollar) Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought has been handed out since 1988. The award, named after Soviet dissident Andrei Sakharov, honours people who defend human rights and fundamental freedoms.
Previous recipients include former South African president Nelson Mandela and Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi. Last year's prize went to Raif Badawi, a Saudi blogger who was jailed and lashed after being found guilty of insulting Islam.
The award ceremony is to take place on December 14.