SHARJAH: Nadia Murad, the co-recipient of the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize, made her first appearance after receiving the award at a conference in the UAE on Wednesday, where she urged the world to protect minorities.
“Rebuilding and protecting minorities is a choice,” she said at the international conference “Investing in the Future” in Sharjah. “The global community can make the right choice. We can choose to protect minorities and ensure that extinction is not an outcome for any people or culture,” she said.
Addressing the inaugural session, Murad said persecutors of minorities and the underprivileged should be held accountable.
“We must work together with determination – to prove that genocidal campaigns will not only fail but also lead to accountability for the perpetrators and justice for the survivors. Survivors deserve a safe and secure pathway home,” Murad said.
Murad, the first Iraqi woman to receive the peace award, said that the world should focus on humanity, not war, and overcome political and cultural divisions.
“Let hope unite us. Let humanity unite us. For hope and humanity is the choice we can give our children – it is what our children deserve. We can make the peace and prosperity the reality for future generations,” she said.
Murad termed the Daesh attack on her village as genocide. “On Aug. 3, 2014 the world endured yet another genocide. In the early morning hours ISIS attacked my village and many other villages to begin a campaign of ethnic cleansing. Some were murdered immediately and others were taken prisoners and endured unspeakable acts of violence.”
Murad formed a fund to support Yazidi minorities, Sinjar Action Fund (SAF), which is dedicated to rebuilding Sinjar, the Yazidi homeland.
“Like many minority groups, the Yazidis have carried the weight of historical persecution. Women in particular have suffered greatly as they have been, and continue to be, the victims of sexual violence,” she said.
“I survived to raise the voices of the countless, nameless, forgotten faces of genocide and sexual violence,” said Murad.
Murad, who dedicated her prize money to her cause, asked all governments and non-governmental organizations to join in her efforts to rebuild Sinjar.
“It is possible for Yazidis to return to their homes; it is possible to rebuild. Collectively, we have the resources to repair the communities ravaged by ISIS and restore basic services.”