Middle East

Former captive of Islamic State dedicates rights award to persecuted women

A Yazidi woman who was held captive and raped by Islamic State militants in Iraq paid tribute to persecuted women and victims of human trafficking around the world as she received a human rights award from the Council of Europe.

Nadia Murad Basee Taha became the fourth recipient of the Vaclav Havel Human Rights Prize for her work in bringing international attention to the enslavement of women and children in her community.

"I would like to dedicate this award to all women throughout the world who are persecuted and the thousands of Yazidi women and children who have been living in the hell of Daesh (Islamic State) for two years now," Taha said through an interpreter.

She also dedicated the award to the 2,000 Yazidi women who have escaped enslavement by the Islamic State.

"This will give me renewed strength to continue moving forward to fight against extremism in all its manifestations," Taha said accepting the award, named after the late playwright and human rights campaigner who became president of the Czech Republic.

Taha was abducted by Islamic State in Iraq in August 2014 and taken to the group's stronghold of Mosul, where she and thousands of other Yazidi women and children were exchanged by militants as gifts.

She was tortured and raped repeatedly before she escaped three months later.

The activist has travelled to Egypt, Greece, Kuwait, Norway, the United States and Britain to raise awareness about the plight of the Yazidis.

Appointed a U.N. goodwill ambassador for human trafficking victims last month, Taha has urged the international community to do more to bring the jihadist militants to justice.

In January, the United Nations said the Islamic State were still holding an estimated 3,500 people, mainly women and children, as slaves in Iraq.

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