Nadia Murad Basee Taha

At only 23 years old, Nadia Murad has seen the worst of humanity. She’s seen her 6 brothers killed in a massacre of 312 men in her town. She’s seen her mother murdered because she was too old to be sold into sex slavery. She’s been trafficked and brutally assaulted by ISIS fighters. Narrowly escaping her captors, Nadia finally made her way to a refugee camp.

Nadia’s harrowing journey has led her to advocate on behalf of the Yazidi women targeted by ISIS. A religious minority in the region, ISIS launched a genocidal attack on the Yazidi community in August 2014, justified by declaring Yazidis to be ‘devil worshipers.’ Following this twisted logic, ISIS also condones the systematic rape and enslavement of non-Muslim women.

Fighting for the humanity of other Yazidi women who are forced to live this nightmare, Nadia is working with the non-profit Yazda and Human Rights lawyer Amal Clooney to persuade the International Criminal Court to open an investigation regarding ISIS crimes.

Through this work, Nadia has been asked to recount her trauma countless times. Reliving these moments isn’t easy, but Nadia is well aware of what’s at stake for her her community: Approximately 5000 Yazidi have been massacred, 6700 abducted and 90% of the Yazidi population displaced to refugee camps to date.

In September, Nadia was appointed a UN Goodwill Ambassador for the Dignity of Survivors of Human Trafficking. At the induction ceremony, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon recognized Nadia’s dedication and resiliency of spirit: “Nadia survived horrific crimes. I cried when I heard her story. But I didn’t only cry out of sadness. I was also moved to tears because Nadia has so much strength, courage, and dignity. She rightly calls for a world where all children live in peace.”

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