The United Nations appointed a young Iraqi woman, who survived rape and abuse as a sex slave of Islamic State fighters, as a Goodwill Ambassador.
With the appointment on Friday, which marks the first time a survivor of atrocities is bestowed this distinction, the 23-year-old, Nadia Murad Basee Taha, wears the mantle of Goodwill Ambassador for the Dignity of Survivors of Human Trafficking of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), the UN says in a statement in its website.
A relentless advocate for victims, Murad was recently named one of Time Magazine’s “100 Most Influential People of 2016.” She is also a nominee for Nobel Peace Prize this year.
“Nadia is a fierce and tireless advocate for the Yazidi people and victims of human trafficking everywhere,” UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said at her induction ceremony, which was held in connection with the UN’s commemoration of the International Day of Peace.
“She was subjected to unspeakable abuse and human rights violations at the hands of ISIL. Nadia has shown exceptional courage in speaking out. She gives a much-needed voice to trafficking victims who continue to suffer, and who demand justice,” the UN chief added.
As a goodwill ambassador, Murad will focus on raising awareness of the plight of victims of trafficking of persons, especially refugees, women and girls.
Meanwhile, international news agencies say, Nadia was captured in Iraq in 2014, while six of her brothers were murdered. She was then abused both physically and sexually.
In a speech delivered at the occasion of her induction, Nadia urged world leaders to come together and help those held captive in ISIS-held territories, especially refugees, women and girls. "I was used in the way that they wanted to use me. I was not alone," Murad said during the ceremony.
“Under their rule, a captured woman becomes a spoils of war if she is caught trying to escape. She is put in a cell and raped by all the men in that compound. I was gang-raped,” Nadia said.
"Perhaps I was the lucky one. As time passed, I found a way to escape where thousands others could not. They are still captive."
Her voice trembling, Murad called for the release of some 3,200 Yazidi women and girls still being held as sex slaves by IS fighters and for the captors to face justice.
Murad said her hope was that one day, Yazidi victims will be able to look "our abusers in the eye before a court in The Hague and tell the world what they have done to us, so that our community can heal."
She is represented by international lawyer Amal Clooney, who said the Islamic State group must be held accountable for grave crimes. –RH