Nadia Murad

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Nadia Murad
Nadia Murad in 2018
Murad in 2018
Nadia Murad Basee Taha

1993 (age 27–28)
Notable work
The Last Girl: My Story of Captivity, and My Fight Against the Islamic State
Nadia's Initiative

Nadia Murad Basee Taha (Arabic: نادية مراد باسي طه‎; born 1993)[1] is an Iraqi Yazidi[2][3] human rights activist who lives in Germany.[3] In 2014, she was kidnapped from her hometown Kocho and held by the Islamic State for three months.[4]

Murad is the founder of Nadia's Initiative, an organization dedicated to "helping women and children victimized by genocide, mass atrocities, and human trafficking to heal and rebuild their lives and communities".[5]

In 2018, she and Denis Mukwege were jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for "their efforts to end the use of sexual violence as a weapon of war and armed conflict".[6] She is the first Iraqi and Yazidi to be awarded a Nobel Prize.[7]

Presently, she is an advocate for Sustainable Development Goals appointed by Secretary-General of the United Nations.[8]

Early life and capture by ISIS[edit]

Murad was born in the village of Kocho in Sinjar District, Iraq.[9] Her family, of the Yazidi minority, were farmers.[10] At the age of 19, Murad was a student living in the village of Kocho in Sinjar, northern Iraq when Islamic State fighters rounded up the Yazidi community in the village, killing 600 people – including six of Nadia's brothers and stepbrothers – and taking the younger women and girls into slavery. That year, Murad was one of more than 6,700 Yazidi women and girls taken prisoner by Islamic State in Iraq.[11] She was captured on 15 August 2014.[12] She was held as a slave in the city of Mosul, where she was beaten, burned with cigarettes, and raped repeatedly. She successfully escaped after her captor left the house unlocked.[12] Murad was taken in by a neighboring family, who were able to smuggle her out of the Islamic State controlled area, allowing her to make her way to a refugee camp in Duhok, Kurdistan Region.[13] She was out of ISIS territory in early September[14] or in November 2014.[12]

In February 2015, she gave her first testimony to reporters of the Belgian daily newspaper La Libre Belgique while she was staying in the Rwanga camp, living in a converted shipping container.[14] In 2015, she was one of 1,000 women and children to benefit from a refugee programme of the Government of Baden-Württemberg, Germany, which became her new home.[15][16]

Career and activism[edit]

Human Rights panel in Vienna in 2018: left to right: 1 Abid Shamdeen 2 Nadia Murad 3 Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein 4 Karin Kneissl 5 Michael O'Flaherty 6 Hauwa Ibrahim 7 Max Schrems 8 Susana Chiarotti
Murad speaking with US President Donald Trump along with other victims of religious persecution on 17 July 2019

On 16 December 2015, Murad spoke to the United Nations Security Council about human trafficking and conflict. This was the first time the Council was ever briefed on human trafficking.[10][17] As part of her role as an ambassador, Murad will participate in global and local advocacy initiatives to bring awareness of human trafficking and refugees.[18] Murad has reached out to refugee and survivor communities, listening to testimonies of victims of trafficking and genocide.[19]

In September 2016, Attorney Amal Clooney spoke before the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) to discuss the decision that she had made in June 2016[20] to represent Murad as a client in legal action against ISIL commanders.[18][19][21] Clooney characterized the genocide, rape, and trafficking by ISIL as a "bureaucracy of evil on an industrial scale", describing it as a slave market existing online, on Facebook and in the Mideast that is still active today.[11] Murad has received serious threats to her safety as a result of her work.[10]

Poster of Nadia Murad speaking to the UN Security Council at the Yazidi Temple of Lalish, Ninawa

In September 2016, Murad announced Nadia's Initiative at an event hosted by Tina Brown in New York City. The Initiative intends to provide advocacy and assistance to victims of genocide.[22] That same month, she was named the first Goodwill Ambassador for the Dignity of Survivors of Human trafficking of the United Nations (UNODC).[23]

On 3 May 2017, Murad met Pope Francis and Archbishop Gallagher in the Vatican City. During the meeting, she "asked for helping Yazidis who are still in ISIS captivity, acknowledged the Vatican support for minorities, discussed the scope for an autonomous region for minorities in Iraq, highlighted the current situation and challenges facing religious minorities in Iraq and Syria particularly the victims and internally displaced people as well as immigrants".[24]

Murad's memoir, The Last Girl: My Story of Captivity, and My Fight Against the Islamic State, was published by Crown Publishing Group on 7 November 2017, which is an autobiographical in which she describes being captured and enslaved by the Islamic State. [25][26]

In 2018, director Alexandria Bombach produced a documentary film called On Her Shoulders that featured Murad's life story and activism.[27][28][29]

In 2019, Murad addressed the second annual Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom[30] where she spoke about her story and the ongoing challenges faced by Yazidis nearly five years after the 3 August 2014 attacks and laid out a "five-point plan of action" to address the challenges they face in Iraq.[31][32] Murad was included among a delegation of survivors of religious persecution from around the world whose stories were highlighted at the summit.[33] As part of the delegation, on 17 July 2019, Murad met with President Donald Trump in the Oval Office with whom she shared her personal story of having lost her family members, including her mother and six brothers, and pleaded with him to do something.[34]

Personal life[edit]

In August 2018, Murad became engaged to fellow Yazidi human rights activist Abid Shamdeen.[35] They have since married.[36]

Awards and honours[edit]


  • Nadia Murad: The Last Girl: My Story of Captivity, and My Fight Against the Islamic State (Virago eBook, 7 November 2017), ISBN 978-0-349-00974-2 (English)
  • Nadia Murad: Ich bin eure Stimme: Das Mädchen, das dem Islamischen Staat entkam und gegen Gewalt und Versklavung kämpft (Knaur eBook, 31 October 2017), ISBN 978-3-426-21429-9 (German)


See also[edit]


  1. ^ By Editorial Staff (20 August 2018). "Iraqi Yazidi human rights activist Nadia Murad gets married". Kurd Net - Daily News. Retrieved 29 September 2020.
  2. ^ Murad, Nadia; Krajeski, Jenna (7 November 2017). The Last Girl: My Story of Captivity and My Fight Against the Islamic State. Little, Brown Book Group. ISBN 9780349009766.
  3. ^ a b Siddique, Haroon; Maclean, Ruth (5 October 2018). "Nobel peace prize 2018 won by Denis Mukwege and Nadia Murad – as it happened". The Guardian.
  4. ^ Westcott, Lucy (19 March 2016). "ISIS sex slavery survivor on a mission to save Yazidi women and girls". Newsweek. Retrieved 22 September 2016.
  5. ^ "Nadia Murad". Forbes. Retrieved 5 October 2018.
  6. ^ "Announcement" (PDF). The Nobel Peace Prize.
  7. ^ "Nobel Peace Prize winner Nadia Murad". BBC News. 5 October 2018.
  8. ^ "Nadia-Murad-Basee-Taha". SDG Advocates. Retrieved 19 September 2020.
  9. ^ "Who is the Nobel Peace Prize 2018 winner Nadia Murad?". The National.
  10. ^ a b c Murad Basee Taha, Nadia (16 December 2015). "Nadia Murad Basee Taha (ISIL victim) on Trafficking of persons in situations of conflict – Security Council, 7585th meeting" (Video). United Nations Television (UNTV). Retrieved 21 September 2016.
  11. ^ a b c "Appointment Ceremony of Ms. Nadia Murad Basee Taha As UNODC Goodwill Ambassador for the Dignity of Survivors of Human Trafficking on the Occasion of the International Day of Peace" (Video). United Nations Television (UNTV). 16 September 2016. Retrieved 21 September 2016.
  12. ^ a b c Alter, Charlotte (20 December 2015). "A Yezidi Woman Who Escaped ISIS Slavery Tells Her Story". Time. Retrieved 18 December 2016.
  13. ^ Collard, Rebecca (13 July 2018). "He Helped Iraq's Most Famous Refugee Escape ISIS. Now He's the One Who Needs Help". Time. Retrieved 11 November 2018.
  14. ^ a b Lamfalussy, Christophe (22 February 2015). "La sixième nuit j'ai été violée par tous les gardes, Salman a dit: elle est à vous maintenant".
  15. ^ Alter, Charlotte (20 December 2015). "Yezidi Girl Who Escaped Isis Sex Slavery: Please Help Us". Time. Retrieved 19 September 2016.
  16. ^ Whyte, Lara (18 February 2016). "'Every Part of Me Changed in Their Hands': A Former ISIS Sex Slave Speaks Out". Broadly. Retrieved 19 September 2016.
  17. ^ "ظهورجريء للفتاة الازيديية نادية مراد ابكى اعضاءً في مجلس الامن وصفق لها الحاضرون". عراق برس. 18 December 2015. Archived from the original on 4 August 2017. Retrieved 5 October 2016.
  18. ^ a b Harris, Elise (19 September 2016). "Amal Clooney, George's wife, takes on U.N. and ISIS". The Washington Times. Retrieved 22 September 2016.
  19. ^ a b McFadden, Cynthia; Whitman, Jake; Rappleye, Hannah (19 September 2016). "Amal Clooney Takes on ISIS for 'Clear Case of Genocide' of Yazidis'". NBC News. Retrieved 19 September 2016.
  20. ^ Allum, Cynthia (9 June 2016). "Exclusive: Amal Clooney to represent ISIS survivor Nadia Murad and victims of Yazidi genocide". The New York Times. Retrieved 24 September 2016.
  21. ^ Lara, Maria Mercedes (19 September 2016). "Watch: Amal Clooney Reveals She and George Talked About the 'Risks' of Taking on ISIS – 'I Mean, This Is My Work'". People. Retrieved 19 September 2016.
  22. ^ "Nadia's Initiative". Uncommon Union. Archived from the original on 31 January 2017. Retrieved 9 October 2016.
  23. ^ del Campo, Carlos Gomez (16 September 2016). "Human trafficking survivor Nadia Murad named UNODC Goodwill Ambassador". United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). Retrieved 17 September 2016.
  24. ^ "A Meeting with his Holiness Pope Francis". 8 May 2017. Archived from the original on 28 October 2017. Retrieved 23 October 2017.
  25. ^ "The Last Girl". 17 August 2017. Archived from the original on 27 December 2017. Retrieved 23 October 2017.
  26. ^ @NadiaMuradBasee (23 October 2017). "Honored to announce my memoir THE LAST GIRL will be published by @CrownPublishingGroup on Nov 7th" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  27. ^ Weissberg, Jay (28 January 2018). "Film Review: 'On Her Shoulders'". Variety. Retrieved 19 June 2019.
  28. ^ Ehrlich, David (20 January 2018). "'On Her Shoulders' Review: A Documentary About Yazidi Activist Nadia Murad Becomes an Essential Portrait of the Strength Required to Speak Up — Sundance 2018". IndieWire. Retrieved 19 June 2019.
  29. ^ Minow, Nell. "On Her Shoulders Movie Review (2018) | Roger Ebert". Retrieved 19 June 2019.
  30. ^ "2019 Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom". US Department of State.
  31. ^ Ochab, Ewelina U. (24 July 2019). "Nadia Murad Explains The Blueprint To Help Religious Communities In Iraq". Forbes. Retrieved 2 August 2019.
  32. ^ Ministerial To Advance Religious Freedom (Tuesday Part 2 of 3), retrieved 2 August 2019
  33. ^ "Biographies of Survivors". Nadia Murad. United States Department of State. 16 July 2019. Retrieved 2 August 2019.
  34. ^ Saffeya Ahmed (19 July 2019). "Trump Oval Office exchange with Nobel Peace Prize winner highlights tension over immigration". CNN. Retrieved 2 August 2019.
  35. ^ "Yazidi Islamic State survivor gets engaged". BBC News. 20 August 2018. Retrieved 29 September 2020.
  36. ^ Priborkin, Emily (16 December 2019). "ISIS Destroyed His Community—Now He Advocates for Survivors". American University. Retrieved 29 September 2020.
  37. ^ Monasebian, Simone (14 September 2016). "Nadia Murad Basee Taha to be appointed Goodwill Ambassador by United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime on 16th September". United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). Retrieved 21 September 2016.
  38. ^ "Václav Havel Human Rights Prize 2016 awarded to Nadia Murad". PACE News. Retrieved 5 October 2018.
  39. ^ "Why I am nominating Nadia Murad for Sakharov Prize". Beatriz Becerra. 12 September 2016. Retrieved 8 October 2016.
  40. ^ Becerra Basterrechea, Beatriz (20 July 2016). "Yazidi genocide victims deserve European Parliament prize". EurActiv. Retrieved 8 October 2016.
  41. ^ "EU Parliament awards Sakharov prize to Yazidi women". 27 October 2016.
  42. ^ Callimachi, Rukmini; Gettleman, Jeffrey; Kulish, Nicholas; Mueller, Benjamin (5 October 2018). "Nobel Peace Prize Awarded to Denis Mukwege and Nadia Murad for Fighting Sexual Violence". The New York Times. Retrieved 5 October 2018.
  43. ^ "Friedensnobelpreisträgerin Nadia Murad mit Bambi geehrt". (in German). 21 November 2019. Retrieved 7 December 2019.
  44. ^ "Golden Plate Awardees of the American Academy of Achievement". American Academy of Achievement.
  45. ^ "2019 Summit Highlights Photo". Rita Dove, former United States Poet Laureate, presenting the Golden Plate Award to Nadia Murad, recipient of the Nobel Prize for Peace, during the Banquet of the Golden Plate Award gala at the St. Regis Hotel in New York City.

External links[edit]

Media related to Nadia Murad at Wikimedia Commons